MAISRC in the News

Plant survey data sharing and a new database to support invasive plant decision-making

June 25, 2021

Summer is in full-swing and the growing season for native and invasive aquatic plants is well underway. It’s the time of year when managers, survey professionals, and applicators are busy doing surveys, delineations, and aquatic weed treatments. These activities take place at hundreds of lakes every year in Minnesota and along the way yield a tremendous amount of data. At the individual lake level, the information gained from a survey is used to plan a treatment area or evaluate the efficacy of a previous treatment, document baseline plant communities, or map the occurrence of native and invasive plant species across a lake. One type of survey that is of particular interest to MAISRC researchers is a point-intercept survey. That’s because this is a standardized level of survey effort and a repeatable method of data collection that can be used to look at trends across multiple lakes and over time.


Golden Clam Discovery Triggers Rapid Response Monitoring Project

June 25, 2021

You're never too old or too young to help protect Minnesota's waters from aquatic invasive species. This past August, a new population of golden clams, Corbicula fluminea, was discovered by twelve-year-old budding conservationist, William Guthrie. The new infestation was found in Briggs Lake (Sherburne County) while the Guthrie family participated in Starry Trek, an annual event where volunteers from across the state search for starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species.

Golden clams have been found in Minnesota in the past, but mainly in rivers where power plants discharge their cooling water—therefore keeping the surrounding water warmer year-round. 

The discovery of golden clams in Briggs Lake is significant because it is an inland lake with no supplemental heat source. If the clams can survive our winter months, they could also spread and reproduce in additional lakes and rivers. Similar to zebra mussels, infestations of golden clams can clog water intake pipes and alter local ecosystems. 


2021 Starry Trek logistics underway

June 25, 2021

Starry Trek returns this August, as a new crew of volunteers will set out to explore new lakes, seek out new AIS, and to boldly go where no volunteer has gone before (ok, maybe not that last one). On Saturday, August 21st, volunteers will rendezvous at local training sites across the state to receive training on sampling and identifying aquatic plants and AIS before setting out to their assigned lakes to search for starry stonewort and other priority invaders. Since 2017, Starry Trek volunteers have found over 40 new occurrences of AIS in Minnesota, including four new populations of starry stonewort.  


DNR taking aggressive action in Mississippi River on invasive carp

May 28, 2021

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is taking further action following the capture of 34 silver carp in Pool 8 of the Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wis. during a recent Modified Unified Method operation.

Next steps include increased commercial netting operations, tracking tagged carp, and perhaps another Modified Unified Method operation in the Mississippi River.

The USGS-developed Modified Unified Method combines netting and herding techniques to drive and concentrate invasive carp from a large area of water into a small zone for removal.  Thirty-one silver carp were captured during the five-day operation earlier this month and three more were captured during follow-up work.


‘AIS Explorer’ Models How to Protect 10,000+ Lakes with Limited Resources

May 18, 2021

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Researchers at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center have developed an online dashboard (AIS Explorer) that predicts the introduction risk of aquatic invasive species and identifies the optimal placement of watercraft inspection locations for waterbodies across Minnesota.


U of M Research shows how to help stop the spread of spiny water fleas in Minnesota lakes

May 17, 2021

ST. PAUL — Based on new research, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center is asking anglers to wipe fishing lines, reels, bait buckets, and livewells in addition to draining all water from boats and equipment when leaving a spiny water flea-invaded lake in order to “Stop Spiny.”

Spiny water fleas, though tiny (roughly the size of a grain of rice) can cause big problems for Minnesota lakes. These invasive zooplankton eat the microscopic food young, native fish need to survive and grow. Previous MAISRC research conducted by Dr. Gretchen Hansen has shown that walleye in lakes invaded by spiny water fleas are smaller and less abundant than walleye in uninvaded lakes. Stopping the spread of spiny water fleas is a crucial step in protecting our lakes; however, until recently, there was little information available on what recreational equipment was likely to collect spiny water fleas on it during use.


U of M research shows how to help stop the spread of spiny waterfleas in Minnesota lakes

May 13, 2021

Based on new research, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center is asking anglers to wipe fishing lines, reels, bait buckets, and livewells in addition to draining all water from boats and equipment when leaving a spiny waterflea-invaded lake in order to ‘Stop Spiny.’

Spiny waterfleas, though tiny (roughly the size of a grain of rice) can cause big problems for Minnesota lakes. These invasive zooplankton eat the microscopic food young, native fish need to survive and grow. Previous MAISRC research conducted by Gretchen Hansen has shown that walleye in lakes invaded by spiny waterfleas are smaller and less abundant than walleye in uninvaded lakes. Stopping the spread of spiny waterfleas is a crucial step in protecting our lakes; however, until recently, there was little information available on what recreational equipment was likely to collect spiny waterfleas on it during use.


Researchers Call Attention to Preventing Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species Ahead of Minnesota’s Fishing Opener

May 11, 2021

(KNSI) – Minnesota’s fishing season opens this Saturday, and as Minnesotans get out on the water, researchers from the University of Minnesota are drawing attention to aquatic invasive species. Dr. Nick Phelps, director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, says one species of concern is the zebra mussel.

“Zebra mussels are one of the most problematic species here in the [United] States,” Phelps said. “They showed up in Minnesota in the late 1980s, and at this point, we have about 280 lakes or so that are currently infested.”


New research from U of M shows how to help stop the spread of spiny water fleas in Minnesota lakes

May 10, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Based on new research, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center is asking anglers to wipe fishing lines, reels, bait buckets, and livewells in addition to draining all water from boats and equipment when leaving a spiny water flea-invaded lake in order to ‘Stop Spiny.’

Spiny water fleas, though tiny (roughly the size of a grain of rice) can cause big problems for Minnesota lakes. These invasive zooplankton eat the microscopic food young, native fish need to survive and grow. Previous MAISRC research conducted by Dr. Gretchen Hansen has shown that walleye in lakes invaded by spiny water fleas are smaller and less abundant than walleye in uninvaded lakes. Stopping the spread of spiny water fleas is a crucial step in protecting our lakes; however, until recently, there was little information available on what recreational equipment was likely to collect spiny water fleas on it during use.


Talking aquatic invasive species with the U of M

May 6, 2021

Minnesota’s walleye, bass, northern pike, and lake trout fishing opener is next weekend, and aquatic invasive species (AIS) will be on many people’s minds.
 
2021 not only brought us a new way of life with guidelines surrounding COVID-19, but the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota has also created us a new resource — an online dashboard called AIS Explorer— that predicts the introduction risk of aquatic invasive species and identifies the optimal placement of watercraft inspection locations for waterbodies across Minnesota.

Amy Kinsley, an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, answers questions on what the latest research on AIS shows, what boaters and anglers alike can do to stop the spread of AIS, as well as the new AIS Explorer dashboard.

Q: What aquatic invasive species are in Minnesota, and are there any new ones of great concern? 
Dr. Kinsley:
 “Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native aquatic animals, pathogens or plants that have been introduced to a new environment, beyond where they are typically found. Depending