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Spicer Group Seeks To Stop Spread Of Zebra Mussels

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SPICER, Minn. (AP) — A group of lakeshore owners in west-central Minnesota are part of a group researching a new approach to fighting the spread of invasive zebra mussels across the state.

The Green Lakes Property Owners Association in Spicer is teaming with Minnesota Waters, which represents lakes associations across the state, to test a new application for a toxin that has proven successful for power companies.

Terry Frazee with the Green Lakes Property Owners Association said the commercial product called Zeaquanox offers the promise of helping control the invasive species.

“This is the light at the end of the tunnel we have not had,” he said, according to the West-Central Tribune (http://bit.ly/o1cp8S ).

While the mussels haven’t yet reached the lakes around Spicer, they have established themselves in the Lake Le Homme Dieu chain of lakes in Douglas County, less than an hour’s drive away. And the mussels are spreading rapidly in Lake Minnetonka, putting other waters at risk because the mussels could hitch a ride on one of the many boats that use that lake.

The lakes associations in Douglas County and Lake Minnetonka are also part of the research project.

Developed 20 years ago by Dr. Daniel Molloy, a scientist with the New York State Museum, Zeaquanox is a strain of bacteria that’s toxic to zebra and quagga mussels. Frazee said it was safe for native mussels, fish, waterfowl and people.

Power companies are already using the product in high concentrations to keep water intake pipes free of the invasive mussels. The research project will see if it’s also effective when diluted throughout a lake and whether it can be made available for large-scale use.

Lois Sinn Lindquist, executive director of Minnesota Waters, said there were other reasons to be optimistic that the spread of zebra mussels could be stopped, including a new law requiring boaters to drain their watercraft and new funding for research to control invasive aquatic species.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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