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Zebra mussels were found by Fond du Lac Band biologists performing a fisheries assessment on Crooked Lake near Finland. The lake was subsequently designated as infested by the DNR. Anglers and recreationists are urged to use precautions to prevent the spread of the invasive species to other water bodies. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.

Zebra mussels found in Finland area lake

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The Minnesota DNR has designated Crooked Lake near Finland as infested with zebra mussels after an aluminum can was found and appeared to be encrusted with the invasive species. The mussels were positively identified, resulting in the designation, according to DNR aquatic invasive species specialist, Rich Rezanka.

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The can was discovered by Fond du Lac Band biologists who were performing a fisheries assessment at the lake. The finding set into motion a coordinated effort between the Band, DNR Fisheries staff, DNR Ecological and Water Resources and the U.S. Forest Service to manage the lake as an infested water body. Subsequent searches of the lake using plant rakes, sonar, walking surveys and underwater cameras did not turn up further evidence of the mussels, but additional searches are planned for Crooked Lake and downstream waters, said a DNR press release Wednesday. These waters include Artlip Lake, Houghtailing and Wanless creeks, and the Cross River.

“Although we weren’t able to locate additional adult zebra mussels on the first survey, designating the lake now as an infested water body is the right thing to do,” said Rezanka. “Lake users should follow the AIS protocols every time, at every lake, as if it were infested – whether signs are posted, or not.”

Signs will be posted at public accesses on Crooked Lake to alert recreationists to the presence of zebra mussels so appropriate precautions can be taken to avoid their spread to other waters.

According to the DNR the public should be aware of the following when visiting an infested lake:

• Bait harvest and transport of water for any purpose is prohibited in an infested body of water.

• Before leaving any water access or shoreland, anglers, boaters and other recreationists are reminded to remove all aquatic vegetation, drain all water by removing drain plugs, and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.

More information about zebra mussels, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.

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