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Single zebra mussel confirmed in Green Lake near Spicer

SPICER, Minn. -- The one tiny zebra mussel that was found Monday on a dock on the southeast side of Green Lake isn’t much to look at.

After being passed around a few times and stored in a baggie with a bit of water, the adult zebra mussel – most likely dead – was starting to stink by Wednesday.

“He’s not camera shy,” said Dave Coahran, area fisheries supervisor with the Department of Natural Resources, who was the keeper of the zebra mussel at the DNR office in Spicer.

But the presence of this one zebra mussel was enough to launch the DNR into a rapid response Tuesday, with five people searching docks, rocks, boat lifts and rafts for any sign of any other adult zebra mussel.

They came up empty-handed.

“We didn’t find anything that looked like a zebra mussel,” said DNR aquatic invasive species specialist Nick Brown, who was one of the five people snorkeling around possible zebra mussel hideouts for about six hours.

With gusty northwest winds “crashing into the docks,” Brown said it wasn’t easy looking through the turbid water, but he and the others also used their hands to feel for the hard, nubby mussels that typically latch onto things submerged in lakes.

Brown said he’s confident they did a “really thorough job” looking for zebra mussels, but there were no more to be found.

Brown will be back on Green Lake again today but wasn’t sure what direction the investigation will take next.

That direction will come from DNR aquatic invasive species officials in St. Paul.

In a brief telephone interview Wednesday, Ann Pierce, DNR section manager for the Division of Ecological and Water Resources, said the continued search could include searching additional areas for adult zebra mussels or taking water samples to test for the microscopic veligers – baby zebra mussels.

Pierce said that although it was confirmed that a zebra mussel was found in Green Lake, that does not necessarily mean the lake will be designated as being infested at this time.

That will depend on what else is found during the survey this week, she said.

If no more adult zebra mussels are found, she said, it could mean there is not an established adult population now and the DNR could put Green Lake into a “precautionary” status with continued monitoring.

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