STAR TRIBUNE: Zebra mussels may have spread to Prior Lake

The Star Tribune is reporting that Zebra Mussels might be in Prior Lake. As an avid boater on Lake Minnetonka, one of my big fears is that they will spread to Lake Minnetonka. In fact, my fear is not a question of if, but a question of when. Nothing kills zebra mussels, and there is hardly anything that can be done to stop them from spreading. They grow prolifically on everything in the water.

When I was a lifeguard at Covenant Harbor Bible Camp and Retreat Center in Lake Geneva WI in the summer of 1997, zebra mussels had just started to take hold. People had to wear aqua socks to go swimming to keep their feet from being cut up. They had not yet started to attach themselves to the boats and docks in countless numbers. They have now been fully entrenched and while Geneva still gets used, it is not the same.

The Great Lakes have suffered from Zebra Mussels for years. Here is a piece from Cecil Adams that describes the challenges Chicago is facing with Zebra Mussels in Lake Michigan. He breaks down the increase in water clarity, but the challenges of living with zebra mussels.

Here are the results if and when they arrive:

  • Zebra Mussels on every hard surface in contact with the water, including rocks, piers, boat lifts, boats, docks, and washed up on the beaches.
  • Increased water clarity
  • Increased algae blooms from Zebra Mussel feces
  • Aqua socks to go swimming so that feet aren’t cut up by the razor sharp shells

Whatever can be done to keep them out, I am fully on-board for it. You should be too.

If you have been in a Zebra Mussel infested lake, consider staying out of Minnetonka. It’s not just the visible mussles that will bring them in, but the babies that are undetectable with the human eye and feel like a grit of sandpaper on the hull of your boat. Even just one will change our beautiful Lake Minnetonka forever.


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