Aquatic Invasive Species

What is an Aquatic Invasive Species?

 An Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) is a living organism, which resides in a body of water like rivers, lakes, and swamps, and is not native to that specific area.

Why are Aquatic Invasive Species Present in a body of water?

Human Activities either by the-

  • Intentional relocation of plants like Purple loosestrife as a garden plant, Common Carp as a food source, Seeds escape the nurseries and are carried by wind, water and animals to new bodies of water.

  • Unintentional relocation of plants and animals by seeds, animals, and eggs being carried into minnesota waters by attaching to:
    • boat hulls
    • trailers
    • vehicles
    • commercial goods
    • packing materials
    • produce
    • footwear and clothing
    • and in the ballast water in large ships

Why are they important?

Dangerous combination:

  • Fast growth to maturity
  • Rapid reproduction
  • Adaptability to large range of climates, conditions, and food sources
  • Few to no natural predators or diseases in new area
  • Compete with similar native species for food and space

This combination results in the loss of biological diversity as native species are being pushed out.

They also impact by manipulating the habitats and resources where they reside, which affect other native species beyond the direct competitors. For example, Purple loose strife is not a suitable food source or nesting ground for wetland animals.

Aquatic invasive species manipulate shorelines reducing property value, costing landowners and management agencies millions of dollars each year.

Species like zebra mussels, faucet snails, and New Zealand mud snails clog irrigation pipes and attach to boat hulls and propellers reducing efficiecy.

Current and Threatening AIS in Cottonwood County

Aquatic Animals

  • Zebra Mussels (Threatening) left. Most known and influential aquatic invasive species. Success in control of zebra mussels in christmas lake. Articles online at CBS minnestoa and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
  • Silver Carp (Threatening) top right. Known for their ability to jump several feet out of the water and injure boaters. Article from the Des Moines Register website. Best method of control is limiting river movement by using an electric fish barrier. A study in 2010 yeilded good results for the prototype model. pdf
  • Bighead Carp (Threatening) bottom right. Almost identical to Silver carp, though less likely to jump out of water.  

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Aquatic Plants

  • Purple Loosestrife (Current) right. In the early 1990's the first DNR budgeting for aquatic invasive species was established for the use of controlling purlple loosestrife. Most effective method currently in use is a bio-control method.
  • Curly leaf pondweed (Current) left. Methods of control are controversial as many chemicals used have potential negative sideeffects on the ecosystem as a whole, biocontrol method is risky and forbidden by the Minnesota DNR, and mechanical can't keep up with the growth rate.

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What can we do about them?

Be Aware

  • Recognize that Aquatic Invasive Species are a real problem to Minnesota and Cottonwood County.
  • Study which lakes in your area are clean and which are marked as Infested waters. Here's an interactive map of minnesota showing current infested waters and what is currently in the lakes. provided by Minnesota Public Radio.

Follow Regulations and Laws

 By following the regulations put out by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, you can help reduce the risk of continued invasive species spread.

AIS_signRequired Actions


  • Clean - plants, zebra mussels, and other invasive species off of watercraft and trailer before leaving water access.
  • Drain - all water related equipment, keep drain plugs out.
  • Dispose - unwanted bait into the trash, bait that has been put into bottled or tap water prior to  visiting the lake may be taken without draining

Introducing the Weed Stick!

Aquatic Invasive PSA's

Remove Weeds

Drain All Water

Clean Off Anchor

Dry 21 Days

Decontamination Station

Drain Livewell

AIS News Update

AIS in the Media 2016
Linder's Angling Edge Commercial