October 5th, 2020
The State of Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that Lake Minnie Belle has Dreissena polymorpha  commonly known as Zebra Mussels. The efforts of the Community, Lake Association and County, have held this aquatic nuisance at bay for years since they were confirmed in 2 other Meeker County Lakes. Given the life history and population dynamics of Zebra Mussels, the distinction that their presence is not new but was likely undetectable (for the method of monitoring in place) in previous seasons is important to note. With time they have reached a point of becoming even passively detectable. While this news is disheartening for many who have invested themselves in preservation efforts, it does bring to light the contrast between different monitoring practices and the need for a County led monitoring effort.  Anticipating such a need, changes to the County Program have been underway since late 2019. Meeker County developed Rapid Response Protocols and added a permanent and renewing budget item for New Infestation Response. Veliger Tows are an example of another early detection method, which was  newly eligible for full reimbursement under the AIS Program in 2020. 

In 2021, Meeker County's prevention efforts will be adaptive and account for this news by not only monitoring our lakes at greatest risk for Zebra Mussels (using such early detection methods) but also by continuing and expanding the financial and logistical AIS assistance offered to the community. Currently the County is exploring options for density and distribution estimates, mitigation efforts and responsive monitoring in 2021.

DNR Confirmation of Zebra Mussels in Lake Minnie Belle

Please contact the AIS Coordinator with any questions.