Two locations in Leech Lake have produced positive samples for zebra mussel larvae.
Zebra mussels are an invasive species found in less than two percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has now confirmed that Leech Lake, in Cass County, may be the next to be added to the list.
Although no adult zebra mussels have been found in the lake, larvae (called veligers) have been found in two locations – specifically Portage Bay (30 veligers) and Kabekona Bay (40+ veligers.) This indicates the possible presence of a reproducing population. The test sites are approximately 17 miles apart.
Each year, as part of the DNR Fisheries ‘Lake Survey Program,’ samples are collected from the 11 largest lakes in Minnesota. Leech Lake ranks third on that list. The DNR will continue to monitor, and work with various lake associations, in order to conduct wider searches and come up with a plan.
The non-native zebra mussels compete for food and habitat, can slice and injure feet and hands, and clog water and outboard engine intakes.
For more information on how you can do your part to combat zebra mussels, go here.