Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Invasive Species Background
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are those organisms, including nonnative plants, animals, and pathogens, which once introduced to a new environment, invade ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range. They are responsible for the degradation of biological integrity and cause economic loss, overall environmental damage, and harm human health.
In the most recent years, zebra mussels and silver carp have been focal points for AIS prevention measures in Minnesota waters. However, several other species pose an imminent threat to our precious water resources. These additional species include Eurasian watermilfoil, curlyleaf pondwood, flowering rush, bighead carp, spiney waterflea and faucet snails.
2021 Request for Proposals - Using Local Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid
Waseca County is currently offering $10,000 to cities, lake associations, schools, non-profit organizations, and/or other management agencies within the County for implementation of actions supporting the 2021 Waseca County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan. Actions eligible for funding must “prevent the introduction or limit the spread of aquatic invasive species at all access sites within the county,” in accordance with MN Statutes 477A.19.
The grant application can be found below. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 26, 2021. Applications should be mailed or hand delivered to Haley Byron at Waseca County Planning and Zoning, East Annex, 300 North State Street, Waseca, MN 56093, or e-mailed in PDF format to: email@example.com titled: “2021 AIS Prevention Aid RFP.”
Waseca County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan
With the adoption of the first generation of the Waseca County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan in December of 2014, the County and its partners are currently taking measures to combat the spread of these environmental hazards. Through a partnership with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the County has created a list of actions to implement in order to prevent the spread of AIS within our waters. These actions include goals to:
- Increase Understanding of AIS Associated Risks and Spreading Pathways;
- Develop and Implement Activities that Address Identified Pathways;
- Increase Awareness of and Participation in Prevention and Management Activities;
- Broaden Knowledge of and Participation in Early Detection and Rapid Response Activities;
- Increase County Enforcement Resources; and
- Increase Available Resources and Leverage Partnerships.
Actions that may be implemented to accomplish these goals are described in the County AIS Prevention Plan at the links below. The County AIS Prevention Plan is currently in its third generation. In the past, the Plan has been titled according to the year in which it was submitted to the DNR in accordance with MN Statute 477A.19. A shift in the title of the plan has taken place for this third generation, with the plan being titled according to the planning year in which it will be implemented.
County Continues Second Season of Watercraft Inspections!
During the summer of 2015, three County employees in the Planning and Zoning Department were trained by DNR staff to be officially recognized as Level 1 Watercraft Inspectors. This represented a pivotal moment in AIS prevention within the County, as it acted as the kickoff for the first season in which watercraft inspections were performed.
In 2016, four Planning and Zoning employees were trained by the DNR to be recognized as Level 1 Watercraft Inspectors, which resulted in 905 inspections conducted on area lakes. In addition, a partnership between Steele and Waseca counties was formed which resulted in 125 inspections being conducted on Steele County lakes. Keep your eyes peeled for our knowledgeable inspectors on Clear, St. Olaf, Reeds and Elysian lakes in 2017!
AIS Prevention at the Waseca County Free Fair
Each year, the Planning and Zoning Department hosts an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention booth at the annual Waseca County Free Fair in order to educate area residents on AIS prevention and management measures. Here, you will find our Level 1 Watercraft Inspectors as well as the County Water Resource Specialist, acting as the AIS Preventions Coordinator, who are happy to answer any questions you may have pertaining to AIS in area waters; rumor has it that you may even get a free can coozie, plug dock, or key floatie if you stop by.
Photographs of Past AIS Prevention Booths at the Fair
DNR Infested Waters List
Waseca County currently has two waters listed as infested on the Minnesota DNR Infested Waters List. This list was last updated on September 9th, 2015, and includes Clear Lake and Reeds Lake as infested by Eurasian watermilfoil. Please reference the link below to see other waters that are currently infested by AIS within Minnesota.
A Gentle Reminder from the DNR
With the summer now coming to a close, it is important to remember to check for AIS when putting away your boats, docks and lifts for the season. The following quote from a DNR news release serves as a gentle reminder to remember to continue your efforts toward AIS prevention, in this case specifically zebra mussels, through this season’s close.
"The combined efforts of the DNR, lake property owners and lake users to spot and report suspected new infestations increase the chances of treating them or limiting their spread. This time of year it is especially important to check docks, lifts, and other equipment for zebra mussels. By law, docks and lifts must also dry for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water.
"There is a common misconception that zebra mussels ’are everywhere’ and that their spread is inevitable. The reality is, zebra mussels have been confirmed in less than two percent of Minnesota lakes, and more Minnesotans than ever before know and follow invasive species laws," Lund said. "People spread zebra mussels, and people can prevent the spread."
Before leaving a lake, Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws require boaters and anglers to:
- Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
- Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping plugs out while transporting watercraft
- Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
For more information on aquatic invasive species prevention and how to report a suspected infestation visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/ais/index.html