MN DNR designates 12 more AIS

Dense patch of lilies

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified 13 high-risk invasive aquatic plants, fish and invertebrates as prohibited invasive species. All but one (jumping worms) are AIS.

Here are the 13 new AIS: mitten crab, Nile perch, snakehead family, walking catfish family, yellow floating-heart, tench, golden mussel, marbled crayfish (marmorkrebs), golden clam, tubenose gobies (any fish belonging to the genus Proterorhinus), and eastern mosquitofish.

For more information on these new AIS, you can check out the DNR’s website.

Add your Point-Intercept data to MAISRC’s database


MAISRC is seeking your point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey data to add to their statewide database. If your lake or river association have done or are doing lake surveys and are using a point-intercept approach, please follow this link to get more information about the MAISRC database.

Bill introduced to recycle boat shrink wrap in Minnesota

Shrink-wrapped boats
Photo: Michigan Recycling Coalition

Shrink wrap is used across the country to protect boats from the elements. Unfortunately, the opportunities to recycle that plastic are currently very limited. And we are talking about a lot of plastic. A 25-foot boat uses approximately 25 pounds of plastic and that’s roughly equivalent to over 2,000 plastic shopping bags. Think about the 800,000 registered watercraft in Minnesota and how many of them are shrink wrapped every year. The amount of boat shrink wrap Minnesota uses just one time is staggering.

Legislation has been introduced in the Minnesota House (HF 3320) and in the Senate (SF 3427) to begin to address the problem. The proposed legislation will:

  • Creates a product stewardship program to responsibly recycle and reuse boat shrink-wrap.
  • Requires producers, through membership in a stewardship organization, to implement and finance a statewide product stewardship program to reduce the volume
    of boat wrap disposed of in landfills by promoting and providing for the collection and recycling of boat wrap.
  • Sets goals and a mechanism for tracking progress towards recycling the majority of boat shrink-wrap plastic used in Minnesota.

Here is a great overview of the issue from the Chesapeake Quarterly. It’s focused on Maryland, but it is the same issue in Minnesota.

Here is a 1-page flyer on the proposed bill that includes some rough estimates on the amount of plastic that goes into our landfills or is incinerated.

Note: This initiative is not identified in our 2024 MN COLA Legislative Agenda, but it’s one that is worth supporting!

Enhanced wakes are stirring things up

drawing showing woman on a wakesurf board

There is much happening around the country regarding enhanced wakes. The Phase 2 wake research from the St. Anthony Falls Lab at the University of Minnesota should be released sometime soon. Minnesota is readying the best practice education to accompany the new Watercraft Operators License. Michigan and Wisconsin have proposed legislation for regulating wakes. The State of Vermont has defined new rules addressing wake surf areas along with a new program to reduce the spread of AIS from ballast water. And on top of all that, new data from the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association showed that new “tow boat” sales dropped 20% from 2022 to 2023.

Follow the More information link for more details.

Lake Superior has dramatically less ice this season 

Lake Superior Ice Concentrations 1973-2024

More insights on the impacts of this season’s limited ice on Lake Superior can be found in Jana Hollingsworth’s article from February 20, 2024, in the StarTribune. About 2% of the lake had ice compared to about 20% last year and 80% in 2022. Forty percent is the average ice concentration over the last 50 years.

Researchers are suggesting potential impacts to AIS, fish species, algae blooms, and more. All of the Great Lakes had limited ice this season and the effects will be studied for years.

Here’s the link to the article. You may have to have a StarTribune subscription to view the article.

Climate change is affecting walleye spawning

Profile of a walleye

A recent study, published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography Letters, examined 194 lakes in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to assess changes in walleye spawning. The takeaway is that climate change is causing lakes to thaw earlier and faster than walleye are adapting.  When the walleye spawn, there is less food resource available for the babies and their survival can be low.

Danielle Kaeding of Wisconsin Public Radio has an audio report and a longer on-line news story.

Get your geek on: New mass emailing requirements may affect your organization

Google and Yahoo logos together

Starting February 1, 2024, Google and Yahoo are tightening the controls on email authentication to improve delivery and reduce spam. MN COLA uses Constant Contact to send out emails and this upcoming change caused us to get a little geeky and make technical changes that we completed in mid-January.

These two big email providers are making these changes to protect their users (Gmail and Yahoo mail) from fraudulent messages, such as scams and phishing attempts, and will prevent any emails sent from unauthenticated email addresses from reaching the recipient’s inbox. These changes require email senders to prove they are legitimate and not spammers by setting up authentication and publishing a DMARC policy.

Yep, that’s geeky. BUT… it may impact your lake/river/COLA/LARA organizations from getting your email communications to all your members and friends depending on how you send out emails. So, if you aren’t the geek in your organization, let your geek(s) know so that they can get ahead of these new email controls. Just tell them to google “google email authentication 2024”.

Vermont wakesports regulation moves a step closer

drawing showing woman on a wakesurf board

Vermont ’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) recently filed its “Final Proposed Rule” for regulating wakesports on the state’s inland lakes under the heading “Final Rule Documents Submitted to LCAR.” The filing triggers another step in the process whereby the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) reviews the proposed rule. The Committee will be considering this proposed rule on February 1, 2024. If “adopted” the proposed rule will be filed with the secretary of State to become effective on the “effective date”.

The final version of the proposed rule retained the requirement for wake boarding to be done a minimum of 500’ from shore despite overwhelming public comments asking for a 1,000’ minimum. If the LCAR votes to adopt the rule, Vermont will have the most restrictive regulations in the country for wakesports. The final proposed rule includes a 500’ minimum distance from shore, a minimum depth of 20’, a ‘wakesports zone’ as having a minimum of 50 contiguous acres, and a “home lake” approach to help reduce the potential for wake boats to spread AIS from residual water in their ballast tanks.

Stay tuned!