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Zebra mussels found in Prior Lake

A homeowner on Prior Lake reported finding zebra mussel shells along the beach of the lake, prompting an announcement on Friday by the Department of Natural Resources, the Star Tribune reported.

The DNR said that it will search the lake for more zebra mussels before determining that it is infested with the pest, the Pioneer Press reported.

Zebra mussels can disrupt and choke out native species, the Star Tribune reported. They currently infest nine lakes in Minnesota, as well as the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers.

They are native to Eastern Europe, and came to North America by clinging to ships. They were first discovered in Minnesota in a Duluth harbor 20 years ago, the Pioneer Press reported.

Officials are concerned that the heavy traffic on Prior Lake might make it likely for the zebra mussels to spread to other lakes in the area and the state, the Pioneer Press reported.

But the DNR does have several recommendations about transferring boats from one lake to another, the Pioneer Press reported. They are designed to decrease the risk of spreading unwanted species between lakes.