Zebra mussels discovered in Blue Dog Lake in Day County

Zebra mussels have been discovered in another lake in South Dakota, this time in Day County.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Blue Dog Lake in Day County.

“Two adult zebra mussels were found by a local family on their dock over Labor Day weekend,” Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Tanner Davis said in a GFP news release. “GFP Fisheries staff investigated and found an additional mussel on a rock in the water near the wharf and another mussel on a nearby wharf.”

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As a result, Blue Dog Lake is now considered infested with zebra mussels, according to the statement.

It is the 11th body of water in South Dakota in which zebra mussels have been found, according to SD Least Wanted, a site run by GFP.

Zebra mussels have also been found in Cochrane Lake, Enemy Swim Lake, Kampeska Lake, Francis Case Lake, Yankton Lake, Lewis and Clark Lake, McCook Lake, Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam, Pactola Reservoir and Pickerel Lake.

Zebra mussels were first discovered in South Dakota in 2015 in the Lewis and Clark Reservoir.

They are small snail-like molluscs that reproduce rapidly and pose economic and environmental threats. They damage surface water infrastructure, drinking water and irrigation systems, as well as hydroelectric and industrial cooling systems.

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“Fall is upon us, but the practice of ‘clean, drain, dry’ is still essential for anyone who loves fall bite, waterfowl hunting, or having fun on the water,” said Davis said in the statement.

Boaters and anglers should:

  • Clean watercraft and trailers of all aquatic plants and mud.
  • Drain all water by removing any drains, plugs, bailers or valves that are holding water. Be sure to completely drain your lower unit of any water by lowering it completely.
  • Dry any equipment that has been in contact with water before its next use.

Draining and drying a boat completely is the first step in ensuring that invasive species are not transferred to other waters. It is important to note that invasive zebra/quagga mussels can survive up to 30 days out of water.

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Fall is a good time to start examining submerged equipment such as boat docks, boat lifts, and hard substrates like rocks and woody debris for zebra mussels, according to the GFP. Zebra mussels can vary in size, depending on age. Newly formed molds can be as microscopic as grains of sandpaper, while adults can reach 2 inches in length. GFP encourages boaters to feel along their craft below the waterline for any roughness that might indicate newly formed molds.

For more information on zebra mussels or to report other aquatic invasive species, visit sdleastwanted.sd.gov. Report findings on the Citizen Monitoring page or email [email protected].