Zebra mussels, Eurasian milfoil and other aquatic invasive species are so prevalent and damaging in Minnesota that a whole industry has sprung up around fighting them.
There's a whole research center at the University of Minnesota. Private industries help locate them and treat or remove them. Boat inspectors stand guard at entry points to vulnerable lakes. Billboards remind boaters to "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!"
Those who own lake property may sometimes wonder if an infestation of aquatic invasive species harms their property values.
Researchers at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center wonder also, and are examining hundreds of thousands of property transactions in Minnesota to determine the answer.
Invasive “jumping carp,” also known as bighead carp or Asian carp, are moving up the Mississippi River into Minnesota, with 50 of them caught at one time by a commercial fisherman this spring.
But researchers have discovered something that deters them: noise, researcher Nick Phelps said during this season’s fourth and final Water Talk hosted by the Legacy of the Lakes Museum in Alexandria.
Val Brady and Donn Branstrator, University of Minnesota Duluth scientists, were at a boat landing on Island Lake north of Duluth when one of Brady’s neighbors happened to show up to go fishing.
The conversation moved to what the scientists were doing that day, research on how invasive spiny water fleas can accumulate on anglers’ fishing gear, when the neighbor weighed in with his opinion.
Why bother, he said, everyone knows spiny water fleas are spread by ducks.
BEMIDJI -- The community is invited to join the upcoming Starry Trek event hosted by Beltrami County Environmental Services AIS Program. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, starting at 2400 Middle School Ave. NW.
Starry Trek is a statewide event focused on searching for one of Minnesota's newest aquatic invasive species, starry stonewort, an algae that was first found in Minnesota at Lake Koronis in 2015. The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center has been working to find research-based solutions to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed reports of zebra mussels in Long Lake, near Park Rapids in Hubbard County, according to a July 23 news release.
A trained invasive species detector found a single zebra mussel on a plant rake when conducting routine sampling on Long Lake.
A subsequent dive search revealed two adult zebra mussels near the south public access and fishing pier on Long Lake. A DNR invasive species specialist said the specimens were breeding adults that were likely in the lake prior to this year.
PELICAN LAKE, Minn. — When zebra mussels showed up in Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County, Minn., about a decade ago, their arrival sparked alarm.
The invasive species, which at its largest grows to about the size of a sunflower seed shell, has a sharp-edged shell that attaches to hard surfaces, both natural and man-made, like boat lifts and dock stands.
When the aquatic invader reached Pelican Lake, stories soon spread about children suffering cuts on their bare feet and, because the mussels are extremely good at filtering algae from the water, anglers were concerned about the impacts on the lake's food chain.
Ten years on, Pelican Lake still has zebra mussels, but the intensity of concern has moderated, according to Emily Meyers, whose family has operated Fair Hills Resort on Pelican Lake since 1926.
THUNDER BAY — A Lakehead University researcher hopes to learn more about the spiny waterflea's potential impact on the health of the walleye population in the lakes of Quetico Provincial Park.
It's a key part of the work that Michael Rennie, an associate professor in biology, will conduct over the next three years with the help of a $75,000 grant from the Quetico Foundation.
The project will probe how the spiny waterflea and climate change are affecting the early growth rates and mercury loads of fish.
POMME DE TERRE LAKE, Minn. — Finding ways to control the common carp in Minnesota lakes has been an issue that researchers have looked at for years. Now, another virus specific to the common carp is killing some of the invasive fish, including in lakes within the Pomme de Terre River system locally.
Isaiah Tolo is a graduate assistant from the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center funded by the Legislative‐Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Tolo collected tissue samples from stressed carp from Pomme de Terre Lake in Grant County this spring. The fish were confirmed to have the Carp Edema Virus (CEV) Disease. Carp have been affected by the disease in Lake Christina in Douglas County, along with local waters of Pomme de Terre, Ten Mile and Barrett Lakes.
“On Pomme de Terre, I estimated that there were around 4,000 fish that died in that mortality event,” Tolo said. “That might be a third (of the carp population), or depending on what the density of that population is, it could be a significant fraction of what’s in that lake.”
Dead and dying carp are appearing in some lakes within the Pomme de Terre River system, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) recently collected tissue samples from stressed carp in Pomme de Terre Lake and confirmed that the fish kill was attributed to Carp Edema Virus Disease (CEVD). Carp continue to be affected in Lake Christina and Pomme de Terre, Ten Mile and Barrett lakes in Grant, Douglas and Otter Tail counties. Additional mortality is anticipated in other lakes with warming water and spawning concentrations. CEVD is a virus specific to common carp and can cause high mortality rates in wild and cultured varieties, including koi.