WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 06, 2010, 08:22 AM

Pelican Lakes residents take action to fight invasive species

Pelican Lake, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Business owners and residents on Pelican Lake are gearing up for another busy summer season, but this year everything is different. Near the end of last summer, the invasive Zebra Mussels species was found in the lake. More on how they plan to prevent the problem from getting any worse.

The Pelican Lakes Property Owners Association hosted an informal meeting tonight, with a presentation from the Minnesota DNR. People who live and work on Pelican say seeing this new and invasive species in their water is disheartening, and they're taking action to fight it.

“It's not on the Great Lakes anymore. It's not in Duluth, it's not in someplace else, it's home, it's here.”

Robin Johnson depends on lake traffic to make ends meet. He owns the Lakeland True Value General Store in Dunvilla, he says these new species are going to change the way he's done business for the past 26 years.

“So we've got ideas for the store already, on dealing with our bait for example, how to drain the water out of their boats and what they need to do.”

Nathan Olson from the Minnesota DNR says these zebra mussels can be controlled, but education is the key. He says anglers need to know what to watch for, and to drain the water out of their boats, so the muscles don't spread.

“But it seems like the more education we do, the more that we see that we have to do more education. So hopefully the more that we do, the word's really going to get out there and people will realize that it's basically the water that we're worried about.”

The idea is to take these steps now, while the problem is manageable because if no action is taken, the mussels will continue to grow and multiply, filtering water quickly, and stripping the lake so many love of its fish and vegetation.

There will be another informational meeting in May, that's when more of the seasonal traffic is expected to return. Members say it's important to spread the word about zebra mussels to everyone who steps foot on Pelican.