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Extension > Environment > Water Resources > Conservation > AIS

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Aquatic Invasive Species

You can detect and track aquatic invasive species

There are many ways to help protect Minnesota waters against aquatic invasive species. Extension partners with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Center to organize statewide volunteer surveillance programs that target high-risk areas with trained observers.

The AIS Detectors program trains citizen scientists and professionals to make credible AIS reports to the Minnesota DNR.

The AIS Trackers program trains citizen scientists and professionals to monitor changes in populations of AIS over time in specific locations and to generate data useful in assessing treatment options and evaluating response to treatment efforts.

Both the AIS Detector and Tracker volunteer programs are open to professional AIS managers as well as citizen scientists, such as lake association leaders, county AIS task force members, Master Naturalists, and other motivated citizens. There is a minimum level of service required to maintain certification.

Visit the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center for more information on AIS research being conducted by the University and others, and for updates on how you can help protect Minnesota waters.

And always follow state law to protect against aquatic invasive species by cleaning and draining your boat and other water-related equipment.

Sign up to receive updates about the AIS Detector and Tracker programs.

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If you think you have a problem

If you think your shoreland has one of these or any other suspected aquatic invasive plant, report it to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Invasive Species Program. They can confirm plant identification and guide your next steps. A permit may be required to remove some non-native invasive plants.

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What boaters need to do to be hitchhiker free:

  • CLEAN aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other prohibited invasive species and mud off watercraft, trailer, motor, and equipment before leaving any water access.
  • DRAIN water from boat, bilge, motor, live well and portable bait containers before leaving any water access. Drain plug must be removed at water access and drain plugs and other water draining devices must remain open while trailering or transporting boats.
  • DISPOSE of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. It is illegal to release bait into a waterbody or release aquatic animals from one waterbody to another. If you want to keep your bait, you must refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.
  • DRY everything for at least five days OR spray with high pressure and/or hot water (120F/50C for 2 minutes or 140F for at least 10 seconds).

List of Resources

Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Minnesota Sea Grant

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