Zebra mussels cluster. Photo taken by D. Jude, Univ. of Michigan.

(Mirror Daily, United States) Zebra Mussels are not like any mussel, as they can produce several types of damages. Recent reports show that zebra mussels invaded five Minnesota Lakes and that authorities are taking care so that they shouldn’t spread further.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, there are several areas affected by zebra mussels, and authorities advise people to avoid them or to be extra cautious. West Central Tribune reports on the situation:

“Infested waters signs have been posted at DNR accesses on West Battle Lake and Otter Tail Lake in Otter Tail County, Lake Florida in Kandiyohi County, Pocket Lake in Douglas County, and a network of abandoned mine pits in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Crow Wing County.”

Swimmers and divers announced the existence of the zebra mussels in Minnesota lakes to the Department of Natural Resources. Apart from the warnings that the department has already released, the authorities are also researching the problematic areas, both the water and the docks. Except for the cases reported by the swimmers, no other zebra mussels have been found.

These small creatures are considered to be a pest, as they feed on the local fauna’s food. If they consume the algae that are supposed to be food for fish, then the fish population will decrease. So zebra mussels are damaging for the lakes’ ecosystem. Moreover, they can clog pipes and prevent water supplies from working properly.

Authorities also advise people to keep their boats and their fishing gear clean after using them, as zebra mussels can attach to it.

Nevertheless, the section manager at the Department of Natural Resources, Ann Pierce, informs the population that there are no reasons to get alarmed, as she declares:

“While any new infestation is serious, it’s important to note that more than 98 percent of Minnesota lakes are not listed as infested with zebra mussels. Boaters and anglers, DNR-trained watercraft inspectors and enforcement officers, lake associations and many others are working to keep it that way.”

So, the good news is that the wide majority of the lakes are safe and that the officials are already engaged in actions that will prevent the mussels from spreading.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia