Aquatic Invasive Species
What are Aquatic Invasive Species?Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that live primarily in water and thrive in their new environment, often out-competing native species. In Minnesota there are many aquatic invasive plants and animals. Well known AIS include: zebra mussels, curly-leaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, and carp.
In Minnesota, there are two statues related to aquatic invasive species. Minnesota Statute 477A.19, define aquatic invasive species as: “nonnative aquatic organisms that invade water beyond their natural and historic range.” Minnesota Statute 84D.01, defines as non-native species that:
- Cause or may cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
- Threatens or may threaten natural resources or the use of natural resources in the state.
How can boaters prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species? Minnesota law REQUIRES the following when boating and recreating in Minnesota waters:
- CLEAN all visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species from watercraft, trailers, and water-related equipment before leaving any water access or shoreland.
- DRAIN water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait containers, motor) and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs before leaving a water access or shoreline property. Keep drain plugs out and water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
- DISPOSE of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. It is illegal to release live bait into a waterbody or release aquatic animals from one waterbody to another. If you want to keep your live bait, you must refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.
What Water Bodies in Blue Earth County are Infested with Aquatic Invasive Species?While many of the lakes in Blue Earth County have curlyleaf pondweed, as of December 2021 the following lakes are listed on the DNR List of Infested Waters:
- Ballantyne Lake - Eurasian watermilfoil
- Eagle Lake (North and South) - Eurasian watermilfoil
- Lura Lake - Eurasian watermilfoil
- Madison Lake - Eurasian watermilfoil
What is Blue Earth County's role with Aquatic Invasive Species?Each County in Minnesota receives aid under the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid program. Under that program, counties are tasked with aiding in the prevention of aquatic invasive species through activities that “may include, but are not limited to, providing for site-level management, countywide awareness, and other procedures that the county finds necessary to achieve compliance."
Blue Earth County prepared an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan and Guidelines for the use of the prevention aid funding. The plan and related documents can be accessed with the following links:
- Blue Earth County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan and Guidelines 2023
- Blue Earth County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Survey Results
- Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid Statute