Zebra mussels were detected Aug. 18 in Lake Minnewashta in Chanhassen near Carver County’s public boat launch at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park, according to information from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
According to the district, during a routine early detection survey at the public boat launch, watershed district staff discovered zebra mussels attached to rocks near the boat ramp.
Four juvenile zebra mussels were found in 30 minutes of searching. They are of similar size to the first zebra mussels discovered in 2014 on Christmas Lake, which is on the border of Chanhassen and Shorewood. The state Department of Natural Resources, Carver County and the Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association were all notified.
Another 10 zebra mussels were found near the launch during follow-up investigation Aug. 19 but no decision had been made on whether a rapid-response treatment was planned when this edition went to press.
Keegan Lund, an aquatic invasive species specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources, said the watershed district has applied for a rapid-response permit.
Lund said that Carver County may install barrier nets near the boat launch with the goal of containing the spread of the mussels.
No zebra mussels were found by divers farther away from the boat launch, Lund said Aug. 23.
Carver County employs about 30 boat inspectors to check watercraft at public access sites with the goal of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. As of mid-July, more than 15,000 watercraft inspections had occurred this year. Of those, 6,000 had been conducted on Lake Waconia, 3,000 on Lake Minnewashta and 2,200 on Lotus Lake.
This is the fifth year the county has been involved with aquatic invasive species prevention efforts.
Carver County and the city of Chanhassen were two of the first local governments around the state to implement boat inspections at public access sites in 2012 in an effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The county oversaw the city of Chanhassen inspections beginning last year.
In 2014, zebra mussels were confirmed in Christmas Lake — on the border of Chanhassen and Shorewood — and Lake Waconia, the largest lake in Carver County.
They were also confirmed in Lake Virginia, which connects to Lake Minnetonka near Victoria, in 2014. Lake Minnetonka and Prior Lake are also among the hundreds of water bodies around the state with confirmed zebra mussel infestations.