GFP's Rapid Response Team Inspecting South Dakota's Lakes

September 22, 2023

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) employees have been out surveying and sampling lakes across the state to monitor fish populations and for the presence of zebra mussels.

"We have also implemented a Zebra Mussel Rapid Response Team of employees to better respond to zebra mussels and to keep on top of lake situations," said Fisheries Program Manager, Jake Davis. "We are working with the public and GFP staff to quickly notify anglers, boaters, and other recreational users of a zebra mussel presence in a waterbody and to help educate water users."

The team recently responded to a property owner on Roy Lake, in Marshall County, who had found mussels when removing their dock.

"We were contacted by a cabin owner about the possible presence of mussels on Wednesday. We traveled to Roy Lake and confirmed those were zebra mussels," Davis said. "We then conducted a follow-up survey and found additional mussels. Going forward we will consider Roy Lake to have zebra mussels."

The response team will place high-profile signs on access areas, actively engage boaters using the infested water, reiterate information on decontamination requirements, and identify groups of people and entities that will be potentially affected by the infestation.

"We have updated the AIS signs at Roy Lake access points and have notified DOT so they can place the larger signs as well," Davis said. 

"Boaters and anglers in this area can expect to see additional reminders to 'clean, drain, dry' on physical signs, in their email inboxes, and on social media," said GFP Communications Manager, Nick Harrington.

GFP has significantly enhanced efforts to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in recent years, both educating anglers and boaters to clean, drain, dry every time they are on the water as well as physically inspecting boats prior to and/or after loading.

"GFP also conducted watercraft inspection stations throughout the summer months, even with fall upon us, boaters and anglers are reminded to always remember to clean, drain, and dry everytime,” concluded Harrington.

You can learn more about AIS by visiting!


View All News