KEYC - Minnesota River Added To infested Waters List

Minnesota River Added To infested Waters List

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MANKATO , MINN. -

Zebra mussels as well as three different types of carp, have influenced the decision to put one of the state's largest rivers, under watch.

This follows sightings of mussels in Lac qui Parle as well as big head carp near Redwood Falls.

The DNR has also caught grass and silver carp, which along with big head, can overpower other species for food along with reducing aquatic vegetation.

Zebra mussels can produce the same amount of damage to the food chain in addition to damaging boat motors and water intake pipes.

Although this may sound alarming, the DNR wants to assure that this is just a precautionary measure.

DNR Invasive Carp Coordinator Nick Frohnauer said "It sounds bad when something is designated as infested on the list. But in fact, this is a proactive step that the DNR is taking to prevent establishment and expansion."

Neither of these species are native to Minnesota, but by labeling all potential landing spots, the state hopes to prevent them from spreading.

Although sightings have only been confirmed on the western stretch, the DNR decided to put the entire Minnesota River, all the way down to the Mississippi on the Infected Waters List, to help prevent zebra mussels and carp from moving downstream

The importance of keeping these species under control shouldn't be taken lightly as they can both affect the populations of commercial fish and water quality.

Executive Director of the Coalition For A Clean Minnesota River Scott Sparlin said "The spread of invasive species is, is a significant thing. However, we want to make sure that we have good fish populations and our ecosystem is healthy and if we have a healthy ecosystem, it's going to be a little bit troublesome for them to break their way into the cycle."

Boaters and anglers can play a role in helping avoid zebra mussels and/or carp from popping up near them, with a few tips.

Cleaning watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited fish as well as disposing unwanted bait into the trash, are just a couple.

For more tips and how you can help or information on the listing, you can visit mndnr.gov/AIS.

-KEYC 12