After two years of no findings, young zebra mussels again have been found in the upstream portion of the Red River near Wahpeton, N.D.
Larval zebra mussels first were found at Wahpeton in 2010 and again in 2011, but hadn’t been found the past two years.
Fred Rykman, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the latest detection wasn’t entirely unexpected.
“Since we have found zebra mussel young in this area before, and because there are established adult populations upstream in the Otter Tail River in Minnesota, finding a few young this year really didn’t come as a surprise,” Ryckman said.
Despite recent reports of new and expanding zebra mussel infestations in Minnesota, to date adult zebra mussels have not been found in any North Dakota waters. Young zebra mussels have only been found in North Dakota at this single site on the Red River.
At the lower end of the watershed, adult zebra mussels were found last fall in Lake Winnipeg and now appear to have become established in the big lake.
With the latest finding at Wahpeton, local entities and river users should be sure to check for any signs of the invasive mussels when when pulling and storing fishing piers, boat docks and lifts prior to ice up.
“It is especially important to look for zebra mussels during this winter prep work to determine if mussels are present,” Ryckman said. “They attach to these types of hard surfaces.”
If mussels are found, citizens are requested to leave the suspicious mussel attached, take a digital picture, and report findings immediately to a local Game and Fish Department district office. Pictures of zebra mussels are available on the 100th Meridian Initiative website at 100thmeridian.org/.
ANS surveillance along the Red River was conducted by Valley City State University and funded by Game and