[Keegan:] “Now we’re going to look at AIS in more detail. Invasive species are animals and plants that are not native to Minnesota and cause or are likely to cause damage to human health, the economy, or our natural resources. They have few natural predators in our waters, reproduce quickly, and outcompete native species, so if they become established in a water body, they can spread rapidly and take over.”
[Kylie:] “Here’s one example: In October 2010, a dock company in Nisswa Minnesota, reported finding 3 zebra mussels on a dock post base that was removed from Gull Lake. The DNR investigated the report and found zebra mussels attached to a boat lift, dock, and aquatic plants. In less than two years, DNR divers found an average of 153 per square foot!”
[Kylie:] “When AIS spread, they can crowd out native plants and animals, and can damage or completely change a lake, stream, or wetland. They can spoil places for outdoor recreation and hurt Minnesota’s economy. Invasive species have been estimated to cost the United States more than $120 billion in damages every year.
[Keegan:] “It is important that you understand that AIS cannot move over land without help from people. They spread by hitching rides in water, on boats, trailers, and other equipment used by boaters and anglers.
They can be extremely small and hard to see: Tiny pieces of some aquatic plants can start a new infestation, and plants can provide a hiding place for invasive animals that attach to leaves and stems.
Some AIS have tiny eggs or larvae that are invisible in water. Microscopic virus can also travel in water.
[Kylie:] “Here are the mug-shots from the AIS most unwanted list. You can click on these pictures to learn more about them. If you want to learn about other AIS, click on the box at the bottom of the page. You will not be tested on the many different aquatic invaders. Instead, we want you to focus on what you can do to prevent their spread.
Following AIS laws help stop the spread of invasives in Minnesota and keep other invaders that aren’t here like hydrilla and snakehead out!
[Keegan] Once aquatic invaders move in, it's nearly impossible to get them out. They spread uncontrollably, displace native species, harm fish populations, damage habitats, impair water quality and water recreation, and can cost millions of dollars to manage - and millions more in lost revenue or business and recreation.
This animation illustrates the effect of just one AIS - Eurasian watermilfoil - can have on a Minnesota lake.