Understanding Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) & AIS Prevention

1) AIS can be stopped; waterfowl do not spread zebra or quagga mussels.

The spread of AIS follows the highways not the flyways. A study completed a number of years ago

dispelled the myth that waterfowl transport AIS. The MN AIS Advisory Committee also dispelled this

myth in their 2013 Annual report.

2) Inspections Lower the Risk of AIS Transfer.

Everyone is responsible to “do what it takes” to protect our water resources. Inconvenience does not

trump being a responsible boater & state AIS laws prohibit reckless use of the State’s lakes.

3) Minnows do not need to be thrown away between launches.

State law does not require minnows to be thrown away, but it illegal to transport lake or river waters.

Anglers can bring non-lake water for minnows & change out the water in their bait bucket before

leaving the water access.

4) Introducing a new invasive to a water way only compounds issues.

There are many other aquatic invasive species that are on their way to Minnesota that can be more

devastating than zebra mussels. Quagga mussels, for instance, can out-compete zebra mussels for food & live at much deeper depths. Hydrilla is like milfoil on steroids. In addition, the impact of individual AIS becomes more complex with each invasive in a water body. Once a water body has one invasive and has become compromised, it becomes more important to keep other AIS out.

5) Inspectors are looking for AIS, no other violations.

Inspectors are usually not law enforcement officers & they are looking for AIS only. If conservation officers

or other law enforcement officers perform the inspections they will be required to deal with any violations of state law that they come across even though their primary focus will be AIS.

6) Inspections are necessary between launches, even in non-infested waters.

Because it is impossible to know which lakes may already be infested, we must assume all water bodies

may be infested. It may take 2-3 years after an infestation to discover a colony of mussels. Adult and

juvenile mussels can live up to 30 days out of water in MN depending on temperatures & humidity, that’s

why it is important to have a boat professionally decontaminated.

7) Veligers can survive when transported by boats from lake to lake and adults can detach & move about.

Research highlights that veligers are fairly durable. Researchers found viable zebra mussel veligers even

after significant over-land transport in watercraft engines & ballast tanks.

8) Decontamination is worth the time.

On average, ballast tank decontamination with a trained decontaminator will take about 30 minutes. The lower unit of an engine will take about 10 minutes. Decontaminating an average boat without tanks or live wells could take less than 30 minutes.

9) Mussels can damage marine engines and tanks creating costly repairs. Marinas across Minnesota and elsewhere

have reported zebra mussels growing inside engines’ cooling system & causing damage. Engines require a lot of lake water in order for the components to cool. This water may contain microscopic veligers ½ the

diameter of a human hair. As the veligers grow they have the potential to cause an engine to overheat &

burn out by blocking the cool water intake. Researchers determined veligers can live up to 27 days in a tiny amount of water.

10) Decontamination is complex and should only be performed by a trained decontaminator.

They use the correct equipment and attachments, use the correct water temperatures necessary for a

100% kill, know where mussels can hide, and use correct techniques to decontaminate all types of watercraft & engine/cooling systems. Car washes do not have adequate equipment, power or temperatures to decontaminate.

11) All Minnesotans should be concerned about AIS, not just those who swim, boat or fish.

Every Minnesotan has an obligation to protect our “land of 10,000 Lakes”. Invasive mussels are harmful despite making the water appear “clearer”. They remove all the good nutrients & leave the toxins like blue green algae that can be toxic to humans & animals. When water becomes clearer it allows more sunlight to greater depths, which produces more weed growth, significantly altering ecosystem balance.