Aquatic Invasive Species

Stop AIS Clean Dry Drain

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

are non-native plants or animals that live in or near water and thrive in their new environment, often out-competing native species. Invasive species cause harm to the environment, economy, and human health.

Nicollet County receives a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to prevent the introduction or limit the spread of these species within the County. Staff is collaborating with residents and local and state entities on the most effective methods to use the grant dollars.

In 2015, Nicollet County adopted the Nicollet County Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (PDF). The purpose of the Plan is to facilitate coordination of local and state resources and to prioritize and guide implementation of AIS prevention, monitoring, inspection, and education actions in Nicollet County. The Plan attempts to coordinate and to set timelines for actions to preserve and protect the environmental, economic, and human health in the County.

Known AIS and those with the potential to occur in Nicollet County include:

  • Zebra mussels
  • Faucet snail
  • Mystery snails
  • Curlyleaf pondweed
  • Eurasion watermilfoil
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Asian carp

More information on these and additional invasive species can be found on the DNR's web page Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species.

How can you help stop the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species?

Boaters and users of the County's aquatic resources are critical in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. If everyone follows a simple procedure, it's possible to prevent new infestations caused by human activity.

The procedure required by State law for boaters is to clean weeds and debris from their boats, remove drain plugs and keep them out while traveling, and dispose of unused bait in the trash. This prevents species such as Zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil from being carried to other lakes by removing them from boats and trailers.

Some aquatic invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them before moving to another body of water, especially after boating in infested waters, the Department of Natural Resources recommends that boaters take one or more of the following precautions:

Before leaving the boat launch:

  • Inspect your boat, trailer, and equipment and remove any plants and animals.
  • Drain – on land – all water from the motor, live-well, bilge, and transom well. Some exotics may not be visible to the naked eye.
  • Empty your bait bucket on land. Never release live bait into a waterway, or transfer aquatic animals between waterways.

Check these areas especially:

Boat on Trailer

After leaving the boat launch:

  • Wash your boat, tackle, trailer, and other equipment to kill any exotic species not visible at the boat launch. This can be done with 104º water or a high-pressure sprayer – or –
  • Dry your equipment for at least five days to kill the AIS that can survive for long periods of time out of water
  • Learn what AIS look like and know which waters are infested. Report any new infestations to Nicollet County Property Services
  • Get involved! We invite you to join Nicollet County's AIS Taskforce to help direct management efforts of AIS and provide direction on other prevention efforts.

Learn more about stopping aquatic hitchhikers at Department of Natural Resources website