Protecting our waters from non-native species that can cause harm is a responsibility for everyone. The DNR is actively involved in educating and curbing the spread of aquatic invasive species. You can check their website to see which lakes, rivers, wetlands or ponds are infested or connected to an infested body of water. White Bear Lake is noted to have Eurasian Watermilfoil and Zebra Mussel issues. Here are the DNR Recommendations for managing this problem.
We have summarized the process so that you can be aware of the precautions needed:
- Clean all visible plants, zebra mussels or other species from your boat, trailer and equipment before leaving the water access or shore.
- Drain all equipment, including bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs. Keep drains unplugged while transporting your watercraft.
- Dispose of unused bait in the trash. It is illegal to release bait into the lake or another body of water.
- The DNR also recommends that you spray your watercraft and equipment with high-pressure water, rinse with very hot water and dry for at least five days. Some species are small and difficult to notice when at the access.
Zebra mussels are small aquatic animals with a striped shell that attach to hard surfaces in the water. They feed on algae and are highly reproductive. Originally from eastern Europe and western Russia, they were first seen in the Great Lakes in 1988 and in the Duluth harbor in 1989. They can attach to and kill native mussels and reduce food for native animals. They are also known to cause damage to boats and motors as well as clogging water intakes for cities and power plants. They are also a nuisance to swimmers and their pets when they cut their feet on mussels attached to docks, ladders and rafts.
In 2015, the WBLCD issued a pamphlet on zebra mussels that is still available in our offices and in some public libraries. The FAQ answers on topics such as how to dispose of zebra mussels and how to protect boat motors from getting clogged with mussels is still quite current. Check it out here.
See the DNR zebra mussel page for latest information: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquaticanimals/zebramussel/index.html
Eurasian watermilfoil is aptly named since its origin was in Europe and Asia. This problem species was first recorded in Minnesota in 1987. It is a rooted, aquatic invasive plant with greenish leaves and white to reddish stems. The plant carries a short pink flower spike which produces tiny yellow flowers. It causes recreational and ecological damage by overtaking the native plants and provides unsuitable food, shelter and nesting habitat for native animals.
Through the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), you can find an Identification Guide to aquatic invasive species (AIS) that are high-risk for Minnesota waters, along with some look-alike species. You can Click here to download a printable version of the guide.
Invasive yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus) was discovered on the shore of White Bear Lake near the historic Fillebrown House in the summer of 2020 and treated later that summer.
Yellow iris expands quickly via rhizomes and forms dense mats of roots that crowd out native species, reduce the habitat available to native fish and waterfowl, and clog and narrow waterways. All parts of the plant are toxic to livestock and other animals.
For more information on how to recognize and control yellow iris, see this page.
Invasive non-native phragmites were discovered growing on the edges of White Bear Lake in late August 2018. Non-native phragmites, also known as common reed, is an extremely tall wetland grass. During the growing season it can reach over 15 feet tall and has dark green leaves with a large purple-brown flower head.
WBLCD contracted for treatment in late summer of 2019, with a follow-up application one year later, in 2020. The infestations appear to be under control, but we must remain vigilant to control their spread.
For more information on how to recognize and control Invasive non-native phragmites, see this page.
Starry stonewort is NOT (yet) found in White Bear Lake… watch for it! The starry stonewort invasive species was first found in Minnesota in 2015 and has since spread to at least fourteen lakes. We need to recognize and watch out for it! See the DNR page on this invasive at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquaticplants/starrystonewort/index.html
Learn more about additional new threats:
- DNR invasive species main page: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/ais/index.html
- UofM invasive species program: https://www.maisrc.umn.edu/
Report new infestations to the DNR
Volunteer to monitor invasive species https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/ais/volunteer.html