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. 

MAISRC recruiting for “Lab to Lakes” Project Manager


The Minnesota AIS Research Center at the U is accepting applications for a new Lab to Lakes Project Manager position. The Lab to Lake Project was funded by the State of Minnesota to move management recommendations from MAISRC research into implementation. The focus of this position will be on whole-lake common carp management plans and will be centered on working with local partners. Additional focus areas will eventually include control of zebra mussel populations and development of a statewide early detection and surveillance program. More details about the position can be found on the MAISRC website.

You may know someone who would be great in this role, so please pass it on!

MN COLA receives 2023 Partnership award from MAISRC

MAISRC Partnership Award  presented to MN COLA

Dr. Nick Phelps, Director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), presented MN COLA with their 2023 Research Partnership Award for an organization.

Nick commented that “MN COLA has been an advocate for research-based solutions to our AIS problems from MAISRC’s beginning. From your docks to the State Capitol, you are out there; speaking the good word and trying to get important work done.” Nick also highlighted lake associations and COLA’s valuable help to MAISRC project teams, MN COLA’s help in disseminating research findings, and MN COLA’s advocacy for research and funding at the legislature.

Joe Shneider accepted the award on behalf of MN COLA and commented that “MAISRC is so vitally important for AIS prevention and control in Minnesota and far beyond. Their work is helping us better understand AIS infestations, what we can do now, and what might be possible in the future. We in Minnesota are so fortunate to have the kinds of access we have to the researchers and their ideas.”

MAISRC gives out Research Partnership Awards for individual partnership contributions and to local government partners in addition to the award to an organization.

Mercury rising in zebra mussel infested lakes

Clearer water from zebra mussels? Yes. Healthier water? NO! But do zebra mussels impact the fish we eat? YES!!!

In their 2022 Annual Report, the University of MN AIS Research Lab (MAISRC) reported some startling findings about “how zebra mussels influence food webs supporting walleye and yellow perch, and how food web changes influence mercury concentrations in fish tissue.”

“Mercury in fish tissue was, on average, 66% higher for adult walleye and 91% higher for adult yellow perch in lakes containing zebra mussels compared to those in uninvaded lakes.

On average, mercury concentrations in 16-inch walleye from lakes containing zebra mussels were 0.28 pm, above the 0.2 ppm threshold triggering human consumption advisories by the Minnesota Department of Health.”

This is really a significant finding, and the MN Health Department advisor should be heeded.

For more information, check out this MAISRC project online at z.umn.edu/AIS-walleye

MN COLA supports MAISRC’s Lab to Lakes workshop at Leech Lake


The University of Minnesota AIS Research Center (MAISRC) held their first Lab to Lakes Regional workshop on June 23 and 24 in Cass County Minnesota. A wide variety of sponsors helped make this workshop a success (see graphic below.)

After a stirring perspective on the concerns for protecting the water from a leader of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa, MAISRC Director Nick Phelps outlined the 2-day conference. Day 1 provided some highlights of MAISRC Lab projects of specific interest to the local geography, discussions of several local AIS success stories, and ending with a panel discussion on civic governance… a requirement for making projects happen in the complicated control for water. Day 2 was reserved for field trips to see project results in action.

It was great to see the lake associations working side-by-side with government organizations to protect the precious public waters of the area.

MN COLA was recognized several times in the discussions, and we were pleased to be a supporting sponsor. Jim Kutzner, Jim Gray, Blaine Barkley, and Joe Shneider attended on behalf of MN COLA.

MN COLA participating in U of MN biocontrol agents for AIS technology readiness work group


MN COLA has been invited to a collaborative work group of scientists, regulators, and water community stakeholders for measuring and communicating the readiness of genetic biocontrol agents for aquatic invasive species (AIS).  Efficient communication is critical for first-in-class technologies because misunderstandings or failure to communicate can jeopardize regulatory approval or public adoption.

This team of diverse stakeholders will establish a shared language for discussing the development of self-limiting genetic biocontrol methods for AIS.  A framework, focusing on technology readiness levels, will offer a roadmap for socially responsible technology development.  The model case will be using self-limiting genetic biocontrol agents for carp.

Additionally, the group will explore self-sustaining genetic biocontrol frameworks.


The work group is hosted by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), and the roadmap development is led by the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, North Carolina State University. More information about the carp self-limiting genetic biocontrol technology at MAISRC can be found here. Kathy Jonsrud, MN COLA Treasurer, attended the two-day workshop in May of 2023.  

Join MAISRC for eDNA Surveillance this summer!


MAISRC is looking for citizen scientists to help on a project to do eDNA surveillance this summer on Island Lake Reservoir, Lake Vermillion, Lower Prior Lake, and Shagawa Lake. If you live near these lakes and are interesting in helping the U, then this opportunity is for YOU!

Join the newest MAISRC project testing a citizen science approach for detecting aquatic invasive species using eDNA. The research team will provide volunteers with sampling dates, materials, and protocols in order to assess the accuracy of eDNA monitoring, and investigate the prevalence of high priority aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels, rusty crayfish, spiny waterflea, and common carp in Minnesota.

Researchers are learning about how effective volunteers are at detecting AIS with the hope of scaling this project up to detect aquatic invasives throughout Minnesota.

Visit the project website for more information about the project, and perhaps sign up to help the U on this important activity.