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      Help Protect Minnesota’s Environment, Pt. 2: An Inside Look at Aquatic Invasive Species

      Posted on August 01, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Asian Carp.jpg

      The Asian Carp, native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia, has recently been found throughout American waters. Photo by Kate Gardiner

      As Minnesota boaters and fishermen traverse our lakes and rivers this summer, it is important that we work together to impede the spread of aquatic invasive species.

      Invasive species are animals, plants, or micro-organisms that are not native to a specific area. They can have harmful effect on the environment, the economy, and even human health.

      An example of an aquatic invasive species in Minnesota is the Asian carp—a large, plankton-feeding fish. Currently, the Asian carp is moving northward in the Mississippi River and competing with native organisms for its source of food. This can cause a decline in the population of smaller sport fish. Asian carp also pose a potential danger to Minnesota boaters, with the ability to jump up to 10 feet out of the water when they sense a boat approaching. Often these jumping fish can land in boats injuring boaters, personal watercraft operators, and water skiers.

      Asian Carp Distribution.jpgTo prevent the spread of these invasive species, Governor Dayton and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Tom Landwehr have renewed the effort to slow the spread of Asian carp in Minnesota. Their goal is to stop or at least stem the increasing population of Asian carp in Minnesota rivers and lakes. Read more about these efforts on the DNR’s website.

      Minnesotans have an essential role to play in restricting the spread of aquatic invasive species like the Asian carp. The DNR would like to remind all watercraft users to remove all aquatic plants and animals from their watercraft, to drain all water and to leave their drain plugs and water draining devices open during transport.

      Following these precautions not only helps protect Minnesota waters, but it also ensures that you do not receive a fine for violating aquatic environmental species laws in Minnesota. As of Friday, June 29, at 11am, fines for breaking these laws will be doubling throughout the state of Minnesota.

      To read more about how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, visit http://www.playcleango.org/.