Five things to know about AIS this fishing opener
1. There have been successes.
Thanks to research at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), invasive common carp have been successfully controlled in two Minnesota watersheds. And last year, a group of MAISRC volunteers found an early infestation of starry stonewort, which led to the lake association and the Minnesota DNR rapidly mobilizing to hand-pull the infestation – initial results from this early intervention are very promising! All species have weaknesses in their life cycle that can be targeted for control – it just takes diligent research to find them.
2. We’re predicting their next moves – and stopping them in their tracks.
- MAISRC researchers have succeeded in using invasion genetics to identify pathways of spread of zebra mussels among lakes and rivers in Minnesota. This helps managers prioritize where to put decontamination units and inspection checkpoints.
- By predicting the upstream movement of Asian carp in the Mississippi River, researchers are able to model the flow of water through Locks and Dams and provide recommendations about how to increase velocity to prevent them from moving upriver.
- Using advanced modeling techniques that take into account both the likelihood of a species getting to a lake (based on water connectivity and boater movement) and whether it could survive there (based on temperate, precipitation, pH, and other factors) researchers are creating a decision-making tool to help counties prioritize their resources for optimal prevention and intervention of AIS.
3. Dead ones help us too.
MAISRC researchers are exploring the possibility of using pathogens to control invasive carp and zebra mussels. If you see a fish kill, report it at http://z.umn.edu/fishkill. And if you come across dead mussels – either invasive zebra mussels or native mussels – email email@example.com with specific information about where you are (e.g. GPS coordinates, if possible) and a photo. In each case, reports will be triaged and if needed, trained researchers and students will come collect samples and diagnose the cause of mortality.
4. Humans are moving them.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it. For example, only male starry stonewort has been found in North America. That means it’s definitely being spread by boaters, not sexually reproducing. But here’s the good news: that means humans can stop their movement. MAISRC research is looking more closely at how they’re most likely to spread – are they hiding away in the nooks and crannies of your boat, or attached to your fishing line? These studies will help clarify cleaning instructions and save boaters valuable time.
5. You can be part of the solution.
Ready to get involved in the fight against AIS? Consider becoming an AIS Detector, where you’ll learn how to identify and report aquatic invasive species and pledge to volunteer in your community. Or, join hundreds of volunteers across the state on August 18 and search lakes in your area for starry stonewort. More information is available at www.aisdetectors.org and www.starrytrek.org.
Invasive species are an important driver of change and can drastically change an ecosystem. The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center works across the state to develop research-based solutions that can reduce the impacts of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota by preventing spread, controlling populations, and managing ecosystems.