VIRGINIA, MN — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports zebra mussels have been found in the Rouchleau Mine Pit near Virginia.
According to the agency, the water from the pit was being pumped into a drainage ditch that flows into a wetland known as Ramshaw Lake, which then flows into Long Lake Creek and eventually Lake Superior.
DNR officials say they stopped pumping water from the pit after the discovery.
At this time, Ramshaw Lake, Long Lake Creek, and the St. Louis River don’t have zebra mussels.
The DNR found the mussels on rocks and debris in the mine pit after environmental staff from a mining company found the mussels during a routine inspection of the dewatering operation.
Officials say the pit, which is part of a larger pit complex known as the Missabe Mountain Pit Complex, was being dewatered in order to allow future mining.
The complex is made up of the Missabe Mountain, Moose-Shaw, and the Rouchleau pits, which is currently one contiguous body of water.
If you think you’ve found zebra mussels, or any other invasive species, you’re asked to contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist.
Boaters and anglers should follow these laws to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species: