Zebra mussels spread north to old mine pit in Gilbert, Minn. - KMSP-TV

Zebra mussels spread north to old mine pit in Gilbert, Minn.

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GILBERT, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says zebra mussels have been found in Gilbert Pit, an old mine pit in St. Louis County.

The DNR says it's the first time zebra mussels have been found in a mine pit lake, and the farthest north they have been seen in the state.

"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."

Adult zebra mussels were found about 250 yards from the pit's boat access. Most of the zebra mussels were large and none less than 1 centimeter were located.

The lake is known locally as Lake Ore-Be-Gone.

The DNR has urged boaters to prevent the spread of invasive species by thoroughly cleaning boats and trailers. That includes draining water from bilges and livewells and any other containers before leaving an infested lake.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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