Zebra mussels found in mining pit

Zebra mussels have been found in a mine pit near Gilbert, in northeastern Minnesota.

The pit, known locally as Lake Ore-Be-Gone, is popular with local trout anglers. The DNR says it's the first time zebra mussels have been found in a mine pit, and the farthest north they've been identified.

What's surprising about the discovery, said invasive species specialist Rich Rezanka, is that so far, workers have found only adult zebra mussels. Between 20 to 30 large adults were found just off the boat access. Divers did not find younger zebra mussels.

"The water chemistry might not agree with these things," Rezanka said. "They may not be able to reproduce as easily, there could be food resource issues, and that's very likely as well, because mine pits typically don't have lot of food resources. So I'm not going to speculate and say exactly why, it's just different, but we'll work on that."

Lake Ore-Be-Gone is now designated as an infested water body. Rezanka said anglers should not take bait fish from Lake Ore-Be-Gone, and boaters and divers should be especially careful about cleaning equipment when leaving the lake.

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