North Dakota staying diligent about zebra mussels after two new populations found in South Dakota

File: Zebra mussels
File: Zebra mussels(ky3)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 12:43 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Specialists with North Dakota Game and Fish are keeping a close eye on zebra mussels after they were found in two lakes on opposite ends of South Dakota last month.

Aquatic nuisance experts say they have 14 watercraft inspectors throughout the state. And while they’re still examining water samples, there haven’t been any new populations reported in North Dakota this year. But as the time comes to pull boats and docks out of the water for the year, they encourage boaters to be diligent about invasive species.

“One adult zebra mussel can produce a million offspring in a year, basically. Once they’re in a body of water and they have established population, they’re nearly impossible to remove. It definitely happens and I feel bad for South Dakota down there, but it happens,” said Ben Holen, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for Game and Fish.

Ben Holen said Game and Fish has a limited number of resources, so they aren’t able to inspect every boat, dock, and lift in North Dakota’s waterways. However, he said with the public’s help, they can limit the spread throughout the state.