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Zebra mussel larvae found in Lake of the Woods near Ontario-Minnesota border

Zebra mussels cover much of the sand on Pelican Beach, just north of Gimli. The invasive species can have an impact on algae, which in turn has an impact on fish who rely on it for food.
Zebra mussels cover much of the sand on Pelican Beach, just north of Gimli. The invasive species can have an impact on algae, which in turn has an impact on fish who rely on it for food. Jordan Pearn / Global News

Cottagers take heed — American officials found a “substantial” number of zebra mussel larvae in the southern waters of Lake of the Woods near the Ontario-Minnesota border according to Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources.

The agency found the larvae in one of three water samples taken from the lake on the northern border of Minnesota — the officials found no adult or juvenile zebra mussels, but warn they found between four to 186 of the larvae in the water samples.

READ MORE: Winnipeg’s zebra mussel problem can be tackled, but comes with big price tag: U.S. researcher

Since the state has designated Lake of the Woods’s waters as infested, people who harvest bait, fish commercially or use water from the lake should know to take necessary precautions, the DNR said in a news release.

Those precautions include cleaning and draining all boats used in Minnesota bodies of water and trashing any left over fishing bait.

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Lake property owners should carefully check boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when removing equipment for seasonal storage, the DNR added.

READ MORE: Boaters can do simple things to protect Manitoba waterways from invasive species

If found, the DNR suggests either high pressure spraying zebra mussels off your boat, rinsing it with very hot water or drying it for at least five days before taking the watercraft to another lake, river or stream.

The invasive mollusks have plagued Lake Winnipeg since 2013. An infestation in the Red River was confirmed in 2015.

Officials found a zebra mussel larva in Shoal Lake — Winnipeg’s water source — earlier this year.

Zebra mussels in Shoal Lake will not impact Winnipeg drinking water, says city
Zebra mussels in Shoal Lake will not impact Winnipeg drinking water, says city