Eight Lake County bodies of water are on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' latest Infested Waters List, which includes lakes and rivers containing certain aquatic invasive species:
- Crooked Lake, zebra mussel and spiny waterfleas;
- Artlip Lake, zebra mussels;
- Houghtaling Creek, downstream of mouth of unnamed creek draining Artlip Lake, zebra mussels;
- Unnamed creek between Crooked Lake and Houghtaling Creek, zebra mussels;
- Fall Lake, spiny waterfleas;
- Basswood Lake, spiny waterfleas;
- Basswood River between Basswood Lake and Crooked Lake, spiny waterfleas;
- Newton Lake, spiny waterfleas.
All Lake County bodies of water have been on the list since 2014.
Zebra mussels have a striped, D-shaped shell that is 0.25-1.5 inches long. They attach to hard surfaces underwater. They are native to eastern Europe and western Russia.
Spiny waterfleas are microscopic animals, also known as zooplankton, that live in open water. They are one-quarter to five-eighths of an inch long and opaque in color. Spiny waterfleas are often fond on fishing lines and on other equipment in clumps that resemble a gelatinous blob with the texture of wet cotton. They are native to Europe and Asia.
Both invasive species were unintentionally introduced to the Great Lakes through the discharge of contaminated cargo ship ballast water. Zebra mussels were first confirmed in the Duluth-Superior Harbor in 1989. Spiny waterfleas were first discovered in Lake Ontario in 1982 and spread to Lake Superior by 1987.
About 7% of Minnesota's more than 11,000 lakes are on the DNR's Infested Waters List, according to a news release from the DNR.