Photo provided: An employee of Lake Restoration of Rogers applies copper sulfate, a chemical used to treat a small area of Rose Lake for zebra mussels.

Archived Story

Invasives treatment could be milestone

Published 10:40am Friday, October 7, 2011 Updated 10:40am Friday, October 7, 2011

An effort on Thursday to eradicate juvenile zebra mussels from Rose Lake, northeast of Vergas, could be groundbreaking if it works.

“It may just be the first successful extermination of zebra mussels from an open body of water in Minnesota, maybe even North America and perhaps the world,” said Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (OTC COLA) President Jeff Stabnow,

Juvenile zebra mussels were discovered Sept. 28 in Rose Lake. Copper sulfate that the DNR is using has the potential to control the small isolated population. Relatively low concentrations of copper are known to be toxic to zebra mussels, but the use of copper sulfate for eradication has not proven to be successful when it was used in other parts of the state.

“The cost for the three, once-weekly applications is just under $14,000,” said DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist Nathan Olson. Lake Restoration of Rogers was hired by the DNR to apply the copper sulfate. If the colony in Rose Lake is not eradicated, the free flowing invasives could populate the watershed downstream from Rose Lake, including Long Lake at Vergas.

“Rose Lake flows into Long Lake, and Long Lake then flows into the Otter Tail River,” said Olson, “which flows into Big and Little Pine, Rush, Otter Tail, and so on.”

The OTC COLA has been concentrating on zebra mussels because they are trying to stop the spread in Otter Tail County. But there are other invasive species like spiny water fleas.

“Invasive Species will not go away,” said Lake Seven Lake Association President George May.

Lake associations have demonstrated that they are willing to help.

“We need coordination between agencies and adequate state and federal resources.” said Rich McCrady, Sr, president of the Vergas Long Lake Association.

The Otter Tail County Pine Lakes Improvement District has been treating Big Pine Lake with herbicides for the control of curly-leaf pondweed.

“It’s a non-native, invasive plant that has created problems due to its excessive growth and the Big Pine Lake taxpayers have expended $20,000 a year to control it,” said Mark Huber, the OTCPLID vice chair.

“We’ve been more successful in controlling curly-leaf pondweed this year than ever before,” said OTCPLID Chair Sylvia Soeth, “but we can’t let our guard down. We must be vigilant because the next invasive is closer than we realize.”

She urges area residents to remember to remove any visible mud, plants or animals from equipment before transporting and disposing of all unused bait on shore. Another tip is to eliminate water from equipment before transporting.

“Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water,” said Soeth.

The OTC COLA is organized to facilitate cooperation among member lake associations and to assist in the fostering of the wise use of lake areas.

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