New restrictions likely as zebra mussels
By Kirsti Marohn
St. Cloud Times
Posted October 25, 2005
Boaters and anglers on the Mississippi River and Lake
Mille Lacs could face stricter regulations now that zebra
mussels have been found there.
Researchers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
are combing the Mississippi after the invasive species
was found last week near Brainerd.
Crews searched downstream Monday and didn't find more,
said Jay Rendall, coordinator of the DNR's invasive species
program. They were searching upstream Tuesday, he said.
"It's an ongoing process," Rendall said.
Meanwhile, the DNR likely will declare Mille Lacs infested,
as well, he said. Staffers have been monitoring the popular
fishing lake since last summer, when four zebra mussels
were found in three places. They met Tuesday with residents
in Garrison, Rendall said.
"It looks like we will probably designate it … sometime
soon," he said.
If the DNR designates the Mississippi and Lake Mille
Lacs as infested, it would adopt emergency rules that
would trigger new regulations, Rendall said.
They include requiring boaters to drain water from their
boats and equipment and restricting bait harvests from
the infested waters.
It's possible the regulations could stretch all the way
down the river to the Twin Cities, Rendall said.
The public can expect to see a new effort to raise awareness.
The campaign could including watercraft inspectors at
boat landings, conservation officers writing tickets for
violations and signs urging boaters to inspect their gear,
People removing docks, boats or other equipment from
lakes and rivers should check them for the pests, Rendall
"The best reporting we have is from the public,"
Before now, zebra mussels had been found in the Great
Lakes, the Mississippi south of the Twin Cities and a
handful of other Minnesota waters. Last week, a boy found
a zebra mussel in Rice Lake, a backwater of the Mississippi
near Brainerd. Experts say mussels in a larvae stage could
float down the Mississippi.
One of those closely watching for zebra mussels is Ken
Robinson, St. Cloud's utilities director. St. Cloud draws
its drinking water supply from the Mississippi.
When the city's water treatment plant was built in 1990,
a second $1 million intake station was added specifically
because of the threat of zebra mussels, Robinson said.
That would allow the city to shut down one plant for cleaning
while continuing to operate the other.
Robinson said he also may recommend that city officials
start saving money for high-powered cleaning equipment
for both the water intake stations and the 10th Street
"In essence, we're planning already," he said.
What are they?
Zebra mussels are small, striped, clamlike creatures
that reproduce quickly and kill off native mussels.
They can clog intake pipes, causing problems for factories
and cities such as St. Cloud that draw their water supply
from rivers or lakes.