Get em’ while they’re young. That’s the new approach researchers are taking to wipe out, or at least control, populations of zebra mussels in lakes across the state.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center launched a groundbreaking study this week on Lake Minnetonka. For the first time, researchers are using a copper chemical in an actual lake to see if it can reduce the population of zebra mussels. The theory was previously tested exclusively in laboratories.
Once the chemical is distributed, water samples from six enclosures are taken back to the lab for testing.
The results will be studied through the end of August at which point researchers hope to know if this will be a viable tool to combat the spread of the invasive species which first infected Lake Minnetonka in 2010 and has since spread to dozens of other lakes across the state.
“If we can even lower the number, if you think about doing that every season you could really get a population of zebra mussels under control,” said Michael McCartney, one of the researchers leading the study.
The team is using a $24 thousand grant from Hennepin County to complete the study.