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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Zebra mussels confirmed in the Embarrass Mine Pit

Posted 8/10/22

REGIONAL— The presence of zebra mussels has been confirmed in the Embarrass Mine Pit, near Aurora, by the Department of Natural Resources. A U.S. Forest Service employee contacted the DNR after …

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Zebra mussels confirmed in the Embarrass Mine Pit

Posted

REGIONAL— The presence of zebra mussels has been confirmed in the Embarrass Mine Pit, near Aurora, by the Department of Natural Resources.
A U.S. Forest Service employee contacted the DNR after finding several zebra mussels while swimming in a public area at the north end of the pit. A DNR invasive species specialist subsequently found adult zebra mussels in several locations in the 155-acre pit, also known as the Sabin Mine Pit. Mining operations in the pit, which has a maximum depth of 465 feet, ended in 1977. Since then, the pit has been stocked with trout, and has been a popular destination for anglers.
Zebra mussels were confirmed in the nearby St. James Mine Pit in Aurora in July 2021, after an initial report from the same individual to the DNR. The DNR is working with the city of Biwabik, which draws water from the Embarrass Mine Pit for municipal and domestic use. 
Zebra mussels can cause expensive damage to water intake pipes and can reduce or block water flow into intake pipes. Water containing zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, must be filtered and/or treated to eliminate veligers before it can be used for drinking water or discharged to prevent the spread of invasive species in downstream receiving waters.
In addition to damaging water intake pipes, zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, and impact boat motor performance.
Whether or not a lake has any invasive species, Minnesota law requires people to:
• Clean watercraft, trailers and equipment to remove aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
• Drain all water and leave drain plugs out during transport.
• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
• Never release bait, plants or aquarium pets into Minnesota waters.
• Dry docks, lifts and rafts for 21 days before moving them from one water body to another.
People should contact a Minnesota DNR aquatic invasive species specialist(mndnr.gov/Invasives/AIS/Contacts.html) if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species.

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