Tag: AIS

MN COLA announces speakers for Annual Meeting

MN COLA June 2024 Annual Meeting speakers image

What do Kathryn Hoffman (left), Dr. John Rogers (right), Jeff Forester (top), and Hilarie Sorenson (bottom) all have in common?

They are all speaking about water at the MN COLA Annual Meeting on June 18 from 9 am – 11 am CT. The meeting is guaranteed to be interesting and informative, and we hope you will attend.

Register here for the Zoom meeting.

Meeting topics and speakers:

  • Election of Directors for the MN COLA Board. Director terms are 3 years and we have several seats to fill. Note: if you have interest in joining the MN COLA Board, please contact Kevin Farum to register your interest.
  • Kathryn Hoffman, CEO of the non-profit Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), will brief us on the efforts they have underway to protect Minnesota’s public waters. MCEA’s lawyers and scientists are directly involved with environmental legislation in St. Paul and in every major legal fight to protect our water. Kathryn last joined us in December 2020 and she was very well received.
  • Jeff Forester from MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates will provide us with an update on the short 2024 Minnesota Legislative Session that ends on May 20.
  • Hilarie Sorenson is the newly appointed Water Resources Extension Educator for MN Sea Grant. She is charged with helping to address complex water quality issues through resources and programs. We offered her the opportunity to explain her new role and also to hear from you, our caring lake and river volunteers about your priorities and needs. So besides getting to know Hilarie, you can help her help us with a few polling questions during her presentation.
  • Dr. John Rodgers from Clemson University will talk to us about hydrilla, one of the most concerning AIS that has not yet reached Minnesota. He will follow the infestation spread from Florida up the east coast and now in Michigan, the impact on lakes, and what to expect. Many of you became familiar with Dr. Rodgers when starry stonewort was found in Minnesota in 2015. We are so pleased that he will spend some time with MN COLA.

As always, everyone welcome to attend, so feel free to forward this meeting information.

Inland waters need the forest!

MN COLA Home Page hero image - reduced size

MN COLA strongly believes in the need for keeping and reclaiming natural shorelines. This is especially important with the trend of turning part-time cabins into full-time homes. We have many resources on our website to make that case, but it is up to us, as shore owners to understand the impacts of making changes at the shoreline and to retain and/or reclaim the elements that favorably affect water quality.

Michigan Lakes and Streams Association logo

With the permission of Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, we are pleased to provide a link to a terrific article that highlights the important connection between forests and lakes for strong water quality, shoreline stabilization, resistance to AIS, and a strong fishery.

The science supports keeping the forest and lakes connected!

Whose permission do you need for shoreline work?

Shoreline regulation guide: who to call for which action on your shore

We talk a lot about reclaiming natural shorelines, but you may not have a perspective on the permissions that you will need before you do the work.

This “Regulation Guide” (pictured above) was developed by Blue Thumb and it provides that perspective on approvals you need based on what you plan to do. Blue Thumb’s shoreline stabilization webpage has tabs with Planning, Design, Installation, and Maintenance considerations.

Blue Thumb is an educational program of Metro Blooms, a Minneapolis-based non-profit.

It’s AIS season. Ready, Set, Go!

Check In - Check Out - images of cover pages of boat decontamination manual and AIS identification booklet

The open water boating season is here and many of your organizations are involved with AIS inspections, inspectors, and early detection activities. Here are a couple of things you may not know about which may help.

The Lake Tahoe watercraft decontamination manual is well-organized with 91 pages of photos and great content, including nearly 30 pages of manufacturer-specific decontamination considerations.

The MAISRC AIS identification guide contains tips for identifying a number of aquatic invasive species (AIS) that are considered high-risk to Minnesota waters, as well as some common native lookalike species. You can download it for free, buy the book, or become an AIS Detector and get the book — plus tons of hands-on training!

The free Check-In, Check-Out program was designed by our friends at CD3 to educate boaters on hand cleaning different types of watercraft and trailers. Simply place the Check-In, Check-Out QR code at a visible location at your boat launch. 

Harmful algal blooms: “When in doubt, stay out!”

Harmful Algal Blooms

Algal blooms occur when tiny, naturally occurring plants grow rapidly in an area of water and are visible without a microscope. Not all algal blooms are toxic, but some are. Algal blooms capable of producing toxins dangerous to humans or animals are considered Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

MN’s Pollution Control Agency has simple advice for algae blooms: “When in doubt, STAY OUT!”

Here is some great information:

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.

AIS remains a top priority

small body of water completely infested with Hydrilla

AIS continues to spread in MN and more species are on the way. You’ve heard that before, but it remains the case as we start 2024. Each year we get more infestations of species already discovered in MN and there are new species on the way. Read on to find out to learn more about the growth of AIS in MN, and what’s coming soon to a lake near you.

Also, there are three educational events listed below focused on AIS topics.

The chart below for four key aquatic invasive species is current as of January 17, 2024. Zebra mussels and spiny waterfleas are highlighted as they have significant impacts on the ecology of the water with corresponding impacts to the fish food chain. Starry stonewort and Eurasian watermilfoil are highlighted because they impact the navigation and therefore the ability to recreate on the lake. This simple growth chart, from MN DNR data as of November 30, 2023, provides some good news and bad.

The good news is that spiny waterflea infestations have leveled out and the growth rate for Eurasian watermilfoil infestations is slowing

The bad news is that zebra mussel infestations keep climbing and although not in the same league as the others, starry stonewort infestations are growing.

But more AIS is still on its way to MN and could be here already, but we haven’t yet identified it as such. The damage from most of the incoming AIS are “typical of invasives” in that they displace native species and may negatively change the ecology of the water. But one of these future invaders is debilitating to recreation on the water, and that is hydrilla.

Hydrilla roots in the lakebed and has long stems (up to 25 feet in length) that branch at the surface forming dense mats making boating very difficult. As noted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “Hydrilla is an aquatic plant that has earned the illustrious title world’s worst invasive aquatic plant”. While not yet in Minnesota, hydrilla infestations are extensive in Florida where it was unintentionally introduced, then the infestations traveled up the eastern part of the US, with major infestations found in New York.

Two images of Hydrilla - one long shot and one closeup

And hydrilla is also heading north into the Midwest. In 2023, Hydrilla was found in Berrien County in southwestern Michigan, in the town of Crystal Lake in northeastern Illinois, and in the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa.

Here is a current map of hydrilla infestations in the central and eastern US.

map of eastern US showing Hydrilla infestations
USGS Hydrilla verticillate infestation map as of December 18, 2023

A recent NY Times article reported on the hydrilla challenges faced on the Connecticut River, the longest river in New England as they try to contain it from moving to 4 other states. Transmission through rivers makes control very challenging and boater movement between infested rivers and lakes brings the invasive inland. Connecticut has given up on eradication and hope to beat the infestation back year after year with herbicides and education. Sound familiar? They are also working with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center on a novel approach using red tracer dye to help find the right dosage of herbicides to kill the hydrilla and not hurt the native plants.

So, if there is any one take-away from this update on AIS, it is that you should not let your guard down. Protect the lakes and river you love as best you can. Push the MN Legislature to do more, push the MN DNR to do more, push your local government units to do more, push your lake and river associations to do more, and push your friends and neighbors to do more!