by Mike Durkin MyFoxTwin Cities.com
Updated: Sep 27, 2012 9:48 AM PDT
DULUTH, Minn. (KMSP) –
A shopping cart covered in zebra mussels caught the eye of a North Dakota man vacationing in Duluth, Minn., but he didn’t realize his plan to bring the unique junk back home was illegal.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, two conservation officers with the Minnesota DNR were on patrol in Two Harbors, Minn. when they saw the zebra mussel-covered shopping cart sitting in the bed of a pickup truck.
The owner of the truck, 51-year-old Bruce Hinsverk of Wahpeton, N.D., told the officers he was on vacation and saw the shopping cart next to two dumpsters off Lake Superior in Duluth. He planned to drive up the North Shore to Grand Marais, Minn. before returning to North Dakota with the cart.
“He thought it was unique to have a cart with mussels attached and that it would make a nice addition to his business,” officer Jen Mueller said. “So he placed it in his truck. He did not know it was illegal to transport invasive species.”
The officers took photos of the shopping cart before taking it to a DNR storage facility. During that time, they noticed some of the zebra mussels were still alive.
The officers drove to an area near the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center where Hinsverk said he had found the cart, and saw more zebra mussels on the ground between two dumpsters. Lake Superior is infested with zebra mussels. It’s unknown how the shopping cart made its way from the lake to the dumpsters
Hinsverk was cited for illegal possession or transport a prohibited invasive species. He was given instructions on how to appeal or pay the $500 fine.
Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transportation of any prohibited invasive species, including zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, silver and bighead carp, ruffe, round goby and sea lamprey.