Aquatic Invasive Species
Minneapolis waters are threatened by aquatic invasive species, which are species that are not native to Minnesota and cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Once an aquatic invasive species gets established, it's very difficult, if not impossible to eliminate it.
MPRB Working to Protect our City's Natural Resources
Minnesota's natural resources are threatened by a number of invasive species, which can occur on land or in the water. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is known for taking a leadership role in ensuring that our park system can be enjoyed for years to come by protecting them from invasive species. This includes the prevention and management of numerous invasive species including zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, emerald ash borer, Dutch elm disease, buckthorn, and more. In 2012, the MPRB spent nearly $3 million on initiatives to prevent or manage invasive species.
Boat Launch Inspections
Effective April 15, 2013 (weather permitting) all boats, watercraft and watercraft equipment launching from the public boat launches on Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis will require inspections for aquatic invasive species (AIS). Click to read the Aquatic Invasives FAQs.
Sailboats moored on the lakes, or canoes and kayaks entering the water from storage racks or other access points are not affected, and watercraft may exit the lakes through the public boat launch at any time without penalty.
As a reminder, gas powered motors are not allowed on Minneapolis city lakes. If you have a gas powered motor on your boat, it must be propped up and out of the water. Only electric trolling motors are allowed to be used on Minneapolis lakes.
Boat launches will be open with AIS inspectors present from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily:
- Boaters are encouraged to launch by by 9 p.m.
- Watercraft users requiring the public boat launch to exit the lakes will be responsible for exiting before the boat launch closes at 10 p.m.
- Boat launches will be closed and access restricted by a locked chain from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Watercraft users who choose to remain on the lake after 10 p.m. will be responsible for securing their watercraft and removing it when the public launch reopens.
- AIS inspections will end on December 1, 2013.
Inspectors from the MPRB and the Minnesota DNR have been inspecting boats and educating boaters on AIS prevention measures at these public boat launches since early May 2012.
Other AIS Prevention Efforts
In addition to watercraft inspections, MPRB also implemented the following the following actions to prevent the spread of AIS:
- Utilizing the MPRB permit system to improve enforcement of motorized boat limitations on Minneapolis lakes
- Increasing AIS education and outreach efforts
- Improving lake usage data collection
- Including MPRB AIS protection requirements in pertinent MPRB Professional Service Agreements and contracts
- Adding signage and additional trash receptacles to encourage proper bait disposal at launches, fishing docks, and high use shoreline fishing areas
- Developing an AIS Rapid Response Plan for future Board adoption
- Addressing private docks, buoys, tie-ups and other structures on MPRB waterways
AIS Prevention in the Future
Park Board staff will continue to seek input from the public, including representatives from nearby neighborhoods and the boating, fishing and sailing communities, the DNR and other interested groups to help draft a final policy for 2014 and beyond. AIS Inspectors will also be collecting data throughout the 2013 inspection period.
Boaters entering the water through the public boat launch on Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis during non-staffed hours may be cited and fined by Minneapolis Park Police. Additionally, under Minnesota law, it is illegal to transport invasive aquatic plants and animals, as well as water, from water bodies infested with aquatic invasives, which could result in fines up to $1,000.
Help Protect Your Waters
If you are a boater, angler, sailor or canoeist, do your part to prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species from one lake, river or creek to another. Protect Minnesota’s waters by following the state aquatic invasive species laws.
- Clean visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other prohibited species from watercraft, trailers, and equipment before transporting from any water access.
- Drain water from bilge, livewell, motor, ballast tanks, and portable bait containers before leaving water accesses or shoreline property.
Keep drain plug out and water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
- Dump unwanted bait in the trash.
You May Not:
- Transport aquatic plants, water, or prohibited invasive species such as zebra mussels or Eurasian watermilfoil.
- Dump live bait into state waters, on shore, or on the ground.
- Launch, or attempt to place, watercraft, trailers or equipment with aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or prohibited invasive species into any state waters.
Additional Recommended Precautions:
- To remove or kill hard-to-see aquatic invasive species before moving to other water bodies the following is advised:
- Spray with high-pressure water and rinse with very hot water and/or
- Dry boats and water-related equipment for at least five days
- Report new sightings of aquatic invasive species. If you suspect a new infestation of an invasive plant or animal, save a specimen and report it to a local natural resource office.
Additional AIS Prevention Information
Click the links below for additional information regarding the AIS prevention program: