The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the pesky invasive species known as spiny waterfleas has turned up in Burntside Lake near Ely. According to the Associated Press the tiny invasive species is already in Lake Superior, Mille Lacs Lake, Fish Lake and here in Cook County.
Spiny waterfleas can be spotted in large masses, entangling fishing and anchor lines. In the Boundary Waters area lakes listed as infected by the DNR include Caribou, Pine, Little John and McFarland Lakes all accessible off the Arrowhead Trail. Lakes accessible off the Gunflint Trail include Flour, Gunflint and Lake Saganaga. The pest can also be found in Greenwood and Devil Track Lakes.
Spiny waterfleas disrupt the food chain by eating plankton that serve as the same food source for native fish. The DNR requires boaters to drain their livewells, bait containers and bilges to control the waterflea’s spread. With the warm high summer season in full swing more boaters are taking to area lakes, increasing the chances of spreading a number of invasive species.