Invasive zebra mussels confirmed in Embarrass Mine Pit

MN DNR photo- Zebra Mussels
MN DNR photo- Zebra Mussels(CBS 3 Duluth)
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:56 AM CDT
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EMBARRASS, MN -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed a report of invasive zebra mussels in the Embarrass Mine Pit near Aurora.

Zebra mussels were also confirmed in the nearby St. James Mine Pit in Aurora in July 2021.

The DNR is now working with the city of Biwabik as the community draws water from the Embarrass Mine Pit, also known as the Sabin Mine Pit, for municipal and domestic use.

According to the DNR, 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 before it can be used for drinking water or discharged to prevent the spread of invasive species in downstream receiving waters.

A U.S Forest Service employee alerted the DNR after finding several zebra mussels while swimming in a public area at the north end of the pit. A DNR specialist found more adult mussels at several spots around the 155-acre pit.

Minnesota law requires people to clean all watercraft, drain all water and remove plugs during transport, dispose of any unwanted bait, and dry all docks, lifts and rafts for 21 days before launching in a new body of water.

In addition to damaging water intake pipes, zebra mussels compete with native species for food and habitat and can cut the feet of swimmers. The Embarrass Mine Pit is stocked with stream trout and other fish.

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