Lake Minnetonka Conservation District

AIS & Aquatics


Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are plants, animals and pathogens that are “out of place.” A species is regarded as invasive if it has been introduced by human action to a location, area, or region where it did not previously occur naturally (i.e., is not native), becomes capable of establishing a breeding population in the new location without further intervention by humans, and spreads widely throughout the new location.

Humans have created conditions where plants and animals can aggressively invade and dominate water bodies in three ways:

  1. Introducing exotic species (from other regions or countries) who lack natural competitors and predators to keep them in check.
  2. Disrupting the delicate balance of native ecosystems by changing environmental conditions (e.g., stream sedimentation, ditching, removing native plants) or by restricting or eliminating natural processes (e.g., fire). In such instances, even some native plants and animals can become invasive.
  3. Spreading invasive species through various methods. Some examples:
    • Moving watercrafts from waterbody to waterbody without removing invasive plants and animals or draining water;
    • Moving live fish from a waterbody;
    • Releasing live non-native animals and plants into the wild; and
    • Carrying seeds of invasive plants on footwear or pet’s fur.

Controlling invasive species is difficult and costly, and eradicating them is often impossible. Whenever possible, preventing invasive species from arriving in the first place is the best option. More information about AIS can be found on the MN DNR Website.

AIS and Problematic Vegetation in Lake Minnetonka