Man Cited for Zebra Mussel Shopping Cart
Posted at: 09/27/2012 11:45 AM
The Minnesota DNR provided this photo of a shopping cart covered with zebra mussels, seized from a vacationer who pulled it from Lake Superior.
DNR Conservation Officers normally roam the woods and waterways of Minnesota to make sure outdoor enthusiasts are following the laws, but two officers recently made a discovery in an unlikely place: A Two Harbors parking lot.
CO candidate Jen Mueller and CO field training officer Kipp Duncan spotted the unusual sight last Saturday. It was a shopping cart covered with zebra mussels, an invasive species, sitting in the back of a pickup truck.
The truck's owner was a vacationer from Wahpeton, N.D. According to the DNR, the truck owner told the officers he found the shopping cart in Lake Superior near the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and planned to take it home.
"He thought it was unique to have a cart with mussels attached and that it would make a nice addition to his business," Mueller said in a DNR statement, "so he placed it in his truck. He did not know it was illegal to transport invasive species."
The officers confiscated the cart and cited the truck owner for unlawfully possessing or transporting a prohibited invasive species other than aquatic macrophyte. He faces a $500 fine, which he can appeal.
It's not clear how the cart ended up in the lake, but the officers reported finding zebra mussels in the area where the cart had been found.
The DNR says zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota’s lakes and streams. The invasive species first reached the Duluth Harbor in 1989 and has spread to inland lakes. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, impact fish populations, interfere with recreation, and increase costs for industry, including power and water supply facilities.