In Minnesota, the invasive species are winning

  • Article by: TOM NELSON
  • Updated: August 22, 2013 - 7:35 PM

It’s not going to work to leave this up to the boaters.

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donm251Aug. 22, 13 7:26 PM

MIlfoil, zebra mussels and now jumping carp. The list continues to grow. Milfoil came about in 1987 in Lake Minnetonka and has spread to numerous lakes. Soon we'll be known as "10,000 Infested Lakes".

toomuchgovAug. 22, 13 8:44 PM

There is no good solution - either you stop public access to lakes, or you accept invasive species. Over the long haul, you simply CAN NOT sanitize every boat. Since lakes are public property, there must be public access. Might as well learn to live with it. And by the way, even if it WERE possible to sanitize every boat, who says birds don't transport the vermin? Hate to be a pessimist, just being a realist.

jd55604Aug. 22, 13 8:49 PM

These lake associations (like the ones Mr. Nelson presides over)have always been advocating for less outside access to "their" lakes. AIS hysteria and armed DNR officers provided by the state are just the kind of tools these associations are looking for to help them restrict access.

jarlmnAug. 22, 13 9:10 PM

Big deal. In any ecosystem you can name, the prevailing flora and fauna were once themselves, "invasive." Change and evolution happen ... deal with it.

Willy53Aug. 22, 13 9:22 PM

First Step: Fire the DNR Commissioner. He has failed in almost every way possible from managing Minnesota's wolves to effectually advocating for stronger efforts to halt the spread of invasives. Research is essential on this front and it must be funded. To sit back and allow Minnesota's natural heritage to be simply hacked to death by the spread of these invasives is a stunning lack of respect. If boat owners can't summon the will to clean and check their boats then that is their problem and not an attempt to keep them from using lakes. There is a reason the legacy amendment passed: Minnesotans want to preserve their natural environment and their heritage AND they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

FrankLAug. 22, 13 9:29 PM

The fact is that for some of these species it takes so little to transport them, so unless the lakes are off limits this will happen. Think if we asked campers to find 100% of the ticks on their clothes or make sure no weed seed is stuck to their shoes.

elmore1Aug. 22, 1310:05 PM

Our politicians are too busy working on things that attract voters (stadiums, light rail, social programs) rather than focusing on maintaining resources. AIS has been around for a long time and all that we get is "that's too bad".

jd55604Aug. 22, 1310:23 PM

Willy53, what about our rich heritage of being free to utilize the outdoors WITHOUT nuisance checkpoints, boat inspections, punitive fines and lake association groups acting as self-appointed boat police? Shouldn't that natural heritage be protected as well? Not everyone owns a million dollar lake home with the same boat parked on the same dock year after year. These people typically support harsher measures targeted towards visiting boaters because it doesn't affect them at all.

goodloonAug. 22, 1310:37 PM

It's about time that Minnesota realizes our national gem is water. Better start now!

owatonnabillAug. 23, 13 5:30 AM

ALL species were once "invasive". But nature adapts. There is no way to stop this from happening: boats are only one way that invasive species spread but how are you going to monitor ducks and geese, who also spread them via feet and feathers as they fly from lake to lake? Fish make it through the best man-made barriers. Even the best safeguards offer little protection if there is a flood. And so on. These critters are here to stay. But there is always a bright side. Zebra mussels clean the water of algae and other pollutants, and some fish species, including salmon, do much better in water that contains Zebra mussels. Asian flying carp are delicious (they are actually farmed as a food source in other parts of the world) and could serve as a ready, almost inexhaustible supply of cheap protein. Promising results have come from research into using Eurasian Water Milfoil as a biofuel source. Etc. This public hand-wringing is a useless exercise. These critters are here so let's make the best of it.


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