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Part of Riding Mountain National Park closed due to potential zebra mussels

Invasive zebra mussels, shown here on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, may have spread to Whirlpool Lake.
Invasive zebra mussels, shown here on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, may have spread to Whirlpool Lake. Brittany Greenslade / Global News

Parks Canada has closed a lake and campground in Riding Mountain National Park after potential DNA evidence of zebra mussels was found.

Water samples were taken in the summer and fall from Whirlpool Lake and tested positive for potential Environmental DNA (eDNA) evidence of zebra mussels. Environmental DNA are microscopic genetic traces that an organism leaves behind as it moves through an environment.

The invasive species take over the waterways once they are introduced. They reproduce at a rapid rate and eventually millions carpet boats, rocks and lake bottoms.

Parks Canada said Whirlpool Lake and its campground area will remain closed until further notice as a precaution.

“Parks Canada takes this matter seriously and we are vigilant in our efforts to prevent the introduction of zebra mussels to waters in Riding Mountain National Park,” it said in a release. “Staff will continue to monitor the situation closely and take action if a positive result is found.”

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Zebra mussels were first detected in Manitoba in Lake Winnipeg in 2013.

READ MORE: Manitoba to close harbours to stop zebra mussels in Lake Winnipeg

In 2015, they were found in the Red River and Cedar Lake.