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Entries in invasive species (179)


Zebra Mussels Moving Toward Canada

Zebra mussels found on a dock being installed on Minnesota’s Sand Lake are worrisome for resource managers both in the state and neighboring Canada.

That’s because Sand is a part of the Bowstring chain of lakes, which flows into the Big Fork River. The latter is a tributary of Rainy River, which feeds massive Lake of the Woods (65,000 miles of shoreline). And if that’s not enough, that lake drains into the Winnipeg River, and, ultimately, Lake Winnipeg.

Additionally, the closer the shellfish are to uninfected waters, the easier it is for them to be introduced on boats and trailers.

“It takes awhile for zebra mussels to establish through moving currents, but that potential is there,” said Cheri Zeppelin with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). “The key is to slow down the spread.”

Across the border, meanwhile, fisheries managers had thought their resources were protected by the Canadian Shield, because lakes there don’t contain enough calcium for the invasive mussels to thrive. But this discovery raises the possibility that they could spread into northwestern Ontario without going through that natural barrier.

On the positive side, both the Lake of the Woods and Rainy River are low in calcium as well, according to Jeff Brinsmead with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. That could diminish the likelihood of the mussels naturally migrating in river currents, but only time will tell.

The mussels found on the dock were dead adults, Zeppelin said. That means that they probably were alive until the dock was pulled out last fall.

Likely they were introduced by boaters, said Richard Rezanka, an invasive species specialist with the MDNR.

“This is the farthest north we’ve got them,” he said. “We’ve got pretty heavily fished lakes in the central part of the state, so it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for water or zebra mussels to have been moved.” 

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)


Minnesotans Want Locks Closed to Protect Fisheries from Asian Carp

Minnesotans are worried about Asian carp moving into inland lakes from the Mississippi River--- and justifiably so. As they’ve spread out from the lower Mississippi states, where they escaped, they’ve proven inexorable in their expansion, often riding in on flood waters.

Dennis Anderson at the StarTribune says this:

“Waiting this long to close some combination of the Upper or Lower St. Anthony locks, or the lock at Ford Dam, on the Mississippi River to stop Asian carp from infesting the state’s northern waters, is among the dumbest stunts Minnesota has pulled.

“Every day the locks stay open, the state’s inaction is dumber still.”

Also, a poll released by the National Wildlife Federation and other groups reveals that 63 percent of Minnesotans would support closing the locks in Minneapolis to prevent the spread of Asian carp.

“Minnesotans understand that fishing is not just a major part of our Minnesota economy, it is part of our quality of life and heritage," said state senator Amy Klobuchar. "That's why I convinced my colleagues in the Senate to pass my amendment closing the lock. The legislation needs to now pass the House."


Silver Carp Dying in Missouri River

Silver carp are dying in the Missouri River near Vermillion, S.D. And they’ve been found dead elsewhere as well.

 That’s good news, of course. We have far too many of these exotic invaders in far too many of our rivers.

But what concerns resource managers is that they don’t know the reason or reasons for these die-offs. Possibly they are related to water quality. Or maybe they are occurring because of a disease. If it’s the latter, the disease could pose a threat to other species.

Read more here.


New Video Shows Boat Owners How to Combat Spread of Invasive Species

Zebra mussels hitchhike on outboards and boat hulls.

Zebra mussels and quagga mussels crossed the Rocky Mountains in or on boats and trailers. Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and other exotic plants move the same way.

Infestations of these invasive species degrade waterways, harm fisheries, and cost us millions of dollars annually to combat.

 The Invasive Species Action Network has produced a video to show boat owners how they can reduce the odds of spreading these troublesome species. Check it out here.


Invasive Plants Spread More by Boats Than Birds

UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Continuing research suggests that boats rather than birds are the primary means for introducing aquatic invasive species into Wisconsin lakes.

“The fact that accessible lakes are the ones that are invaded indicates that these species are moved by boaters,” said Alex Latzka, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Limnology (CFL).

“While birds could transport invasive species from one lake to another, our finding that remote lakes do not have invasive species strongly indicates that birds are not an important factor.”

Scientists at CFL and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are two years into a five-year study that explores the spread and distribution of exotic plants and animals in the state’s inland lakes. They hope that their monitoring of 450 lakes will uncover trends in dispersal of invasives such as Eurasian water milfoil that will allow time and funds to be better utilized toward protecting those waters where only native species are present.

“People often think that the lakes that are the most worthy of our protection and most susceptible to invasion are the pristine wilderness lakes,” Latzka said. “With those kinds of lakes are iconic in the Wisconsin northwoods, they are not the lakes most vulnerable to invasive species.”

Additionally, a lot of variability exists within lakes that have human development. For example, just 30 percent of fisheries with public access have water milfoil, while fewer than 20 percent zebra mussels. Those are promising numbers since both species have been in the state for decades.

Also encouraging is the fact that the number of lakes with invasive species remained about the same for the first two years of the study.

By finding out why these invaders have not spread to all lakes with human development and by pinpointing fisheries most at risk, scientists hope to better predict and, ideally, prevent the additional spread of invasives.

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)