The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is adding Lake Mary in Douglas County to the list of zebra mussel-infested waters in the state. Lake Mary is part of the Alexandria chain of lakes, a prime tourism destination.
The invasive species was first discovered by a nearby resident, who found a zebra mussel attached to the bottom of a rock. A DNR search confirmed their presence.
"The zebra mussels that were found were obviously adults," DNR South District Manager Barry Stratton said. "That tells us that they've probably reproduced at least once in the lake."
Because of the findings, nearby waters in that portion of the Alexandria chain will be designated as infested. The designation begins with Lake Mary and continues downstream, eventually reaching Lake Brophy and the rest of the Alexandria chain which is already infested with zebra mussels.
Stratton said the zebra mussels likely were brought to Lake Mary on boats or other watercraft. He said prevention is still the best method to keep them out of the state's waters.
"It just points out the need for people to continue to be diligent in cleaning, draining and drying their boats and equipment just to prevent the spread," Stratton said. "At the DNR we rely on each and every individual to take personal responsibility to ensure these things aren't spread around."
The DNR plans to put up signs warning of the zebra mussel infestation at all public accesses at Lake Mary. The agency has identified zebra mussel infestations in almost twelve dozen bodies of water in Minnesota, including 17 other locations in Douglas County, according to the state's infested waters list.