Zebra mussels have been discovered in Gilbert Pit near Gilbert in St. Louis County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said today.

Following an initial report by persons recreating in Gilbert Pit (also known locally as Lake Ore-Be-Gone), further inspections were made by a DNR invasive species specialist to confirm the extent of the infestation.

Adult zebra mussels were located in abundance approximately 250 yards south of the pit’s boat access. Most of the zebra mussels were large and none less than 1 centimeter were located.

“This is the first time we’ve located zebra mussels in a mine pit lake, and it’s the furthest north in the state where we have found them,” said Rich Rezanka, invasive species specialist. “It’s another reminder that aquatic invasive species can travel great distances and don’t have to be in a near-by lake or river to be a threat.”

Boaters who use Gilbert Pit are urged to be extra thorough when decontaminating their boats, trailers, anchors, and other equipment when leaving the infested lake.

Boaters should:

  • Clean off all aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain water from bilge, livewell, motor, ballast tanks, and portable bait containers. before leaving water accesses or shoreline property.
  • Keep drain plugs and water draining devise open when transporting boats and equipment.

It is unlawful in Minnesota to transport aquatic plants or prohibited invasive species on roads or to launch watercraft with them attached.

Gilbert Pit will be designated as an infested water, as required by law, when a zebra mussel population is identified in the lake. Some activities, such as bait harvest and transport of water for any purpose, will now be restricted there.

More information about aquatic invasive species, how to inspect water equipment, and a current infested waters list is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/AIS

Logo courtesy Minnesota DNR

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