Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Environment > Water Resources > Property owners > Shoreland maintenance > Preventing the introduction of invasive species

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Preventing the introduction of invasive species

Why are invasive species a problem?

Today, invasive species (organisms that have been introduced into areas where they are not native) are considered to be among the most severe agents of habitat alteration and degradation. They are a major factor in the continuing loss of biological diversity throughout the world. They have caused extinction of some native species. Invasive species can be thought of as "biological pollutants."

Moving plants or animals, accidentally or intentionally, from one habitat into another where they have never been before is risky business. In the absence of predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors from their native habitat, species introduced under favorable conditions will often overrun their new home and crowd out important native species. Once established, invasives are difficult to eliminate.

To protect your lake

There are many BMPs you can adopt as an individual to minimize the spread of aquatic invasive plants and animals:

Species of concern

Aquatic invasive species that are causing particular concern in Minnesota today are shown below. Other invasives of concern are the common carp, sea lamprey, rusty crayfish, white perch, flowering rush, and curly leaf pondweed. Species are not drawn in correct proportion to each other.


Don Luce, Bell Museaum of Natural History

Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
Size: 1/4 to 2 inches



Eurasian Water Milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
Leaflet: 1/2 life size


M. Baradlai

Eurasian Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus)
Size: 2 to 5 inches


Donna Francis

Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
Size: 2 to 12 inches


Don Luce, Bell Museum of Natural History

Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes cederstroemi)
Size: 3/8 inch



Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Size: 2 to 7 feet

For more information

Shoreland Best Management Practices

Revised 2016

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy