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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 16, 2013, 09:47 PM

Clean water lakes fear the growth of invasive species

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- As aquatic invasive species spread to new waters, those on clean lakes fear for the future.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- As aquatic invasive species spread to new waters, those on clean lakes fear for the future.

Zebra mussels have now been found in Lower Hay Lake and Cross Lake, both part of the 14-lake Whitefish chain in the Brainerd area.

There are now 139 bodies of water in Minnesota infested with zebra mussels.

The DNR announced plans to add more than 200 "clean-and-drain" areas to public water access sites this summer.

Those areas will act as visual reminders to boaters to clean and drain their boats.

But despite growing precautions, some homeowners on clear lakes fear it's inevitable.

This is the view that has greeted Karen and Orris Myran every summer for decades.

Orris Myran- Has Cabin on Big Cormorant: "My dad got this in 1944. Built a little cottage just so he could stay overnight and fish."

In that time, they've seen many changes on Big Cormorant, but happily, aquatic invasive species are not on that list.

They would hate to see the clear water tainted by species like zebra mussels.

Karen Myran- Has a Cabin on Big Cormorant: "We're really lucky. So far, they've been able to keep it out, or been watching people come with their boats and make sure they're clean, the boaters. So far, we've been very fortunate."

But the nasty mollusks have been popping up in lakes across Minnesota.

Most recently, the DNR confirmed a zebra mussel infestation in Cross Lake, part of a 14-lake chain in Central Minnesota.

And despite extra precautions to keep hitchhikers at bay, like boat inspections and clean-and-drain areas at boat launches, Orris fears it could be inevitable.

Karen: "I feel sorry for them. So far, we can enjoy it, really enjoy it. And we have."

The DNR says 200 new clean and drain areas around the state, will make it easier for boaters to understand where to go and what to do to prevent invasive species from spreading to lakes like Big Cormorant, where none has yet been discovered.

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