April 2019 newsletter

Letter from the Director 

Hello from MAISRC! nick phelps

MAISRC has been active at the capitol this legislative session, sharing research findings and updates with legislators and legislative staff. 

Additionally, we have been working with committee members in the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division and Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance committees to secure long-term, stable funding for AIS research and collaboration. Funding for MAISRC has been included at varying degrees in both the Senate and House Environment and Natural Resources omnibus budget bills, which will be voted on in the coming weeks.

If passed, funding in this year's budget bill will complement Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund support, provided to MAISRC through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). This additional funding will strengthen MAISRC's ability to respond to emerging AIS threats, engage with local AIS managers, and support citizen science programs.

You can help with ongoing effort to find solutions to AIS in Minnesota by encouraging your state legislators to support long-term, stable funding for MAISRC. To find out who represents you, visit this website

Time to get back to the lab…

nick signature


Whooshh fish removal system up and running! carp

Invasive carp are now being “whooshhed” out of Long Lake, the first time the fish transport system has been used for invasive species removal. In partnership with the Rice Creek Watershed District, MAISRC researchers set up an elaborate electric guidance system to guide the migrating common carp into an enclosure, where they are netted and swiftly removed using the Whooshh.

There are about 12,000 common carp in Long Lake, which migrate through a narrow channel toward Lino Lake in the spring to spawn. This channel creates an opportunity stop the movement of the fish, harness them, and remove them.

In the case of this project, a video speaks volumes. Check out this project in action:

Learn more about this project on our website.

Collaborating with counties to optimize AIS inspections

A model created by MAISRC researchers to optimize watercraft inspection checkpoints to prevent the movement of starry stonewort and zebra mussels has now been pilot-tested with three counties: Crow Wing, Ramsey, and Stearns.

The model — a product of another MAISRC project — incorporates estimates of boater movement among lakes within each county and assesses risk of AIS spread based on boater movement and environmental suitability conditions. The model can be used by counties to allocate their limited inspection resources among various lakes and landings. It can help counties decide how many inspectors to hire, where to station them, even what times of days or days of the week they should be scheduled, for the optimal intervention of AIS.

MAISRC collaborator Bob Haight, a research economist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station in St. Paul, has been working directly with counties as they plan their summer budgets and inspection schedules. “What makes this model so helpful is that we can tailor it for each county to directly respond to their needs,” said Haight. “Collaborating directly with counties is mutually beneficial – they tell us nuanced details about their county’s lakes and boater movements, and we use that information to inform and improve the model. It gives both parties buy-in to the process.”

Haight recently partnered with Crow Wing County to incorporate data their boat movement data into the model. They also included multiple public landings per lake in order to create a custom report that recommends the number of inspectors and the best locations to minimize the risk of spreading AIS.

“It’s simply impossible for there to be an inspector at every lake, around the clock,” added Haight. “This model allows counties to make the best decisions possible to minimize the spread of AIS.”

Learn more about this one-of-a-kind model on our website.

Hybrid watermilfoil map available milfoil

A new map showing instances of Eurasian, hybrid, and northern watermilfoil is now available from MAISRC. This map was created following field work around the state to quantify the genetic diversity of Eurasian, hybrid, and northern watermilfoil. Note that this map shows presence data in the 62 Minnesota lakes sampled and is not a complete record of occurrences throughout the state.

Researchers are using this knowledge to identify whether different genotypes represent increased invasiveness, if there are patterns of hybrid watermilfoil invasions, and how hybrid watermilfoil is interacting with native plant communities.

After genetic identification was completed in partnership with Montana State University, researchers found that Eurasian watermilfoil is the least genetically diverse while Northern watermilfoil is the most diverse. Most lakes with Northern watermilfoil had multiple different genotypes of Northern watermilfoil and no genotypes were shared between lakes. Check out the map to see which lakes had which species.

Ultimately, understanding the patterns of invasion as well as genetic diversity will help lake managers develop and refine management strategies. Learn more about this work on our website.


MAISRC Fellow Sue Galatowitsch wins Faculty award sue

Please join MAISRC in congratulating Sue Galatowitsch for winning the Exemplary Faculty award from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences! Dr. Galatowitsch was selected for her outstanding contributions to CFANS, providing an excellent example to students, and for her accomplishments both on and off campus. Dr. Galatowitsch directed MAISRC for several years and is now a researcher on an innovative Phragmites project. Congratulations, Sue!

Registration for AIS Detectors now open detectors

Would you like to be part of the solution to AIS in Minnesota? Become an AIS Detector! Registration is now open. You will learn principles of basic aquatic ecology, AIS identification, impacts, and biology, Minnesota rules and regulations, preventing the spread of AIS, and reporting. Upon completing the training, you’ll be equipped to volunteer around the state and make a difference through citizen science, outreach and education, stewardship, and support of AIS programs.

The program consists of an online, self-paced course plus one in-person workshop. Workshops will be held:

  • Friday, May 3 in Arden Hills | Full!
  • Saturday, May 4 in Farmington
  • Friday, May 17 in Willmar
  • Friday, June 7 in Backus | Full!
  • Saturday, June 8 in Fergus Falls

Click here to learn more and to register.

Get your AIS ID Guide before fishing opener! id guide

Brush up your aquatic invasive species identification skills with MAISRC’s AIS ID Guide, available for purchase through the University of Minnesota Bookstore. The guide contains tips for identifying invasive plants, invertebrates, and fish, as well as their common native lookalike species. There are full-color images and lots of helpful descriptions. Bonus: it’s water-resistant, so you can take it out on the boat with you. Get your copy today.

Support MAISRC with a gift today

Our researchers are working diligently all across the state to address the AIS issues that are threatening Minnesota’s waters. Help us do this critical work with a gift today -- private contributions to MAISRC make a real difference and provide us with the flexibility to meet critical needs as they arise. Thank you!