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Big Sioux River, Lake Kampeska latest South Dakota waters where zebra mussels discovered
More than a dozen lakes infested with invasive species
The Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) Department has discovered more zebra mussels in South Dakota waters.
The agency confirmed Thursday the invasive species was discovered in both Lake Kampeska in Watertown and the Big Sioux River, which runs from Roberts County in northeast South Dakota to the Sioux Falls area and further south into Iowa where it connects with the Missouri River.
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"While conducting river otter surveys on the Big Sioux River, GFP staff found zebra mussels at two locations," Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Tanner Davis said in a statement. "The zebra mussels were detected roughly five miles south of Watertown, and downstream of the connected zebra mussel-positive waterbody of Lake Kampeska."
Last week, officials with the department determined that Roy Lake, located west of Sisseton, was also infested with the invasive species.
Recent discoveries like this one have prompted GFP to create the Zebra Mussel Rapid Response Team, a group tasked with staying on top of zebra mussel infestations and spreading awareness among recreators.
In response to the determination made regarding Lake Kampeska and the Big Sioux River, the team will place signs in high-profile areas along those bodies of waters, warning boaters of the infestation and providing insight on how to decontaminate a boat.
"Fall is an important time of year for detecting zebra mussels," GFP spokesman Nick Harrington said. "Individuals who believe they may have found a mussel on their boats, docks, or lifts are reminded to contact their local GFP office and provide a photo and location of the suspect mussels. Zebra mussels that are found on boating infrastructure are most likely juvenile zebra mussels and will be 1/3 inch in length or smaller, so look very closely when inspecting your equipment this fall.”
Zebra Mussel larvae, called veligers, will attach to surfaces during the fall season, develop their shells, and then begin to colonize.
The invasive species was first discovered in South Dakota in 2015. More than a dozen South Dakota lakes have confirmed zebra mussel infestations.