Zebra mussels confirmed in Lake Cochrane

SDGFP photo: Zebra mussels are a small, invasive mollusk (clam) that originated in Eastern Europe and first arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1980s. Although usually less than an inch in size as adults, they can rapidly spread under the right conditions.

PIERRE – The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks has confirmed the presence of adult zebra mussels in Lake Cochrane in Deuel County.

“A suspected adult zebra mussel was found along a lake shore residence shoreline this weekend,” said regional fisheries manager Mark Ermer. “After sending GFP staff to the location, the mussel was confirmed to be an adult zebra mussel. The crew took a hard look around the lake at about nine different locations searching for the presence of other mussels. They found one additional adult mussel on the opposite side of the lake from the original mussel. The presence of two sexually mature adult mussels is enough to now consider the lake infested. The size of both mussels indicate they have been in the lake since at least last summer.

Lake Cochrane is now considered infested with zebra mussels.

The (GFP) Commission can designate waters infested with zebra mussels as containment waters. Specific decontamination requirements exist for boats kept in these waters continuously for three or more days, or that cannot have all water drained from them.

“We are asking lake users to be extra vigilant and make sure their boats and associated equipment is cleaned, drained and dried after every use,” Ermer said.

Guidelines include:

• Clean watercraft and trailers of all aquatic plants and mud.

• Drain all water by removing all drains, plugs, bailers, or valves that retain water. Be sure to completely drain your lower unit of any water by lowering completely.

• Dispose of unwanted bait in trash or fish cleaning stations when leaving the water.

Completely draining a boat is the first step in making sure invasive species are not transferred to other waters.

For more information on zebra mussels, other aquatic invasive species, and how to properly decontaminate your watercraft, visit sdleastwanted.com.

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