Lakes and rivers in Dakota County are threatened by aquatic invasive species — non-native plants, animals or pathogens that live primarily in water and thrive in their new environment, often out-competing native species. Invasive species cause harm to the environment, economy and human health. See where aquatic invasive species infest Dakota County waters.
Dakota County receives a aid from the Minnesota Department of Revenue to prevent the introduction or limit the spread of invasive species within the County. Staff continues to work with cities and lake associations on the most effective methods to use the grant dollars.
Well-known aquatic invasive species in Dakota County include:
Dakota County Aquatic Invasive Species Draft Plan
The Dakota County Aquatic Invasive Species Draft Plan guides spending of the County’s Aquatic Invasive Species Aid from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The plan outlines strategies to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species within the County and greater Minnesota. Through this program, Dakota County aims to support existing monitoring and implementation efforts by local government units and non-profit organizations (as well as conduct monitoring on waterbodies not currently monitored by local government units, to assess aquatic invasive species suitability within the County parks system (particularly Lake Byllesby), and to promote County-wide outreach efforts. It will be approved by the Board of Commissioners in mid-April.
Anglers and boaters can help stop the spread
Every angler and boater plays a vital role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. Following aquatic invasive species laws helps protect waters from invasives while protecting anglers and boaters from possible citations.
The law requires anglers and boaters 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. If everyone follows this simple procedure throughout the season, it’s possible to prevent new infestations caused by human activity.
It is illegal to transport any aquatic plants, zebra mussels, New Zealand mudsnails or other prohibited invasive species or to launch a boat or trailer with these species attached.
Zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas can be easily carried from one lake to another if aquatic plants or water are left on a boat or trailer.
Specially marked clean-and-drain areas at public water access points provide safe and convenient places for anglers and boaters to clean, drain and dispose.
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 leaving zebra mussel or spiny waterflea infested waters, the Department of Natural Resources recommends that anglers either:
- Spray boat with high-pressure water.
- Rinse boat with hot water (120 degrees for 2 minutes, or 140 degrees for 10 seconds), or
- Dry boat and equipment for at least five days.
For more information, watch a 30-second public service announcement about stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Aquarium owners can also introduce invasive species
Well-meaning aquarium owners sometimes introduce aquatic invasive species to lakes. A flowerhorn cichlid, an aquarium fish, was caught in Thompson Lake. It is a non-native species that damages the native environment and competes with native fish for food.
If you have an undesirable aquatic plant or fish species for your aquarium or water garden, do not release them into the environment. While most of these organisms will die, some may survive. And a smaller number of those that survive have the potential to negatively affect our natural environment.
By choosing between several alternatives, you can properly dispose of these unwanted aquatic plants or fish.
- Educate yourself about potential environmental consequences by going to the Habitattitude website.
- Be responsible consumers.
- Contact retailers for proper handling advice or for possible returns.
- Give or trade with another aquarist, pond owner or water gardener
- Donate to a local aquarium society, school or aquatic business.
- Seal aquatic plants in plastic bags and dispose in trash.
- Contact veterinarian or pet retailer for guidance about humane disposal of animals.
- Model and promote these behaviors within your peer groups.
- Become involved with policy solutions.