To the Editor:
Every Minnesotan knows how important it is to protect our state’s precious water resources from the scourge of aquatic invasive species.
We want to thank the Minnetonka-area communities for helping us do just that this summer and fall.
Our research team, comprised of University of Minnesota and U.S. Geological Survey scientists, spent much of the summer out on Lake Minnetonka, studying how to control the lake’s invasive zebra mussel population. Our project (maisrc.umn.edu/copper-control) tested the impact of low-dose copper treatment on zebra mussels as we work to figure out how to reduce their numbers without harming other species in Minnetonka and across Minnesota.
You may have noticed our buoys and sampling sites in St. Alban’s and Robinson bays. Or you may have come across our team cruising across the lake in our trawler. As we dodged paddle boarders, wakeboarders and fishing boats, we often felt like Frogger crossing the bays. To everyone who asked us about our project, or respected our work by simply letting our experiments be, thank you for your interest, cooperation and support.
This project was built on promising results from previous copper testing trials, and our hope is that this will be a viable strategy for controlling zebra mussels. Our research is specific to Lake Minnetonka right now, but if successful this could be repeated on other lakes across Minnesota.
We will spend the winter analyzing the data and considering where to go from here. We expect to be back on Lake Minnetonka next summer for further research and observation.
In the meantime, we want to express our gratitude to the boaters and anglers who shared Minnetonka with us this summer. Zebra mussels and other invasive species pose a threat to Minnesota’s ecosystems. Projects like this will help us take back our lakes.
Angelique Dahlberg is a graduate research assistant at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, University of Minnesota.