6.10 Section 1 - Current State of AIS within the MCWD; Vectors and Pathways of Introduction; Roles & Responsibilities of Government Agencies

Nationally, introductions of AIS have caused the decline and extinction of many plant and animal species.  They have significant impacts on human activities; for example, in 2005 they cost the U.S. economy over $120 billion (Flathead Basin [Montana] Aquatic Invasive Species Strategic Prevention Plan, 2010).  As they are increasing in their occurrence and distribution, adverse impacts associated with AIS continue to rise.  This scenario is playing itself out regionally and locally as well.

AIS can be plants, such as Eurasian watermilfoil; animals, such as zebra mussels and common carp; and pathogens, such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS).  Once introduced into new habitats where they have no natural controls or enemies, they disturb native species through competition, predation, displacement, hybridization, and spread of diseases and parasites, and in the process significantly reduce or remove native species from the local ecology.  AIS can also adversely affect commercial, agricultural, recreational, and residential activities that depend on water resources.

For all of the reasons mentioned above, management of AIS is of concern to the District.  The introduction or spread of AIS will fundamentally alter the natural environment and harm the human one with a wide variety of attendant costs.  Additionally, as the ability of state and regional agencies to respond to needs within the District is constrained by financial resources and larger constituencies, the MCWD needs the ability to take actions for local needs and conditions.  

The Biological Environment:   In 2009, the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council (MISAC) published “A Minnesota State Management Plan for Invasive Species.”  This plan addressed both aquatic and terrestrial species.  It lists those that are present or threats to enter the state, and the severity of the impact that each AIS presents.

The following AIS are known to be present within the District, with the severity of each identified in the MISAC Plan:

Animals

Common carp(Cyprinus carpio)Severe
Zebra mussel(Dreissena polymorpha)   Severe
Chinese mystery snail(Bellamya chinensis) [syn.Cipangopaludina chinensis]Watch

Plants

Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa)Watch
Curly-leaf pondweed(Potamogeton crispus)Severe
Eurasian watermilfoil(Myriophyllum spicatum) Severe
Purple loosestrife(Lythrum salicaria, virgatum)Severe
Eurasian flowering rush(Butomus umbellatus)Moderate

The following AIS are not known to be present within the District, but are believed to be credible threats to be introduced here:

Animals

Bighead carp(Hypophthalmichthy nobilis) Severe
Silver carp(Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) Severe
Rusty crayfish(Orconectes rusticus) Severe
Spiny water flea(Bythotrephes longimanus)Severe
Quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) [syn. Dreissena bugensis]Severe

Plants

Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) Severe
European frog-bit  (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) Severe
Indian swampweed(Hygrophila polysperma) Severe
Water chestnut(Trapa natans) Severe

Not listed in the document is a pathogen, viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), which affects fish populations.  It is present in Minnesota, but not currently known to be in the District.

With today’s ease of transport, and lack of regulation in acquiring or distributing plants and animals in internet and electronic transactions, virtually any AIS that can survive the climate of east-central Minnesota presents a threat of introduction.

The complete list of the 20009 MISAC ranking of the 40 AIS present and of concern for Minnesota appears on the last page of this Section.

Other invasive plants:  The MISAC list of invasive species also lists several terrestrial plants that, while not classified as aquatic, are of concern in wetland habitats.  The following is present within the District:

Reed Canarygrass  
(non-native ecotypes/hybrids)                  
(Phalaris arundinacea)  Severe

Other species of concern, but not on the MISAC list of invasive species, include:

European Common Reed(Phragmites australis subspp. australis)
*Narrow-leaf Cattail(Typha angustifolia)
*Hybrid Cattail  (Typha angustolifolia Typha latifolia [Broad-leaf Cattail; native])
Glossy Buckthorn and its cultivars(Frangula alnus; syn. Rhamnus frangula)

* There is disagreement whether these species are native to North America; the Minnesota DNR does not officially consider them to be non-native.

The (Mostly) Human Environment – Vectors and Pathways What is common among all of these AIS is that they have been introduced to North America by human activity.  The spread of AIS may be caused primarily by human activities, and it can happen “naturally” by other animals and transport in water.  These are vectors for the spread of AIS.  Pathways are specific activities that can introduce AIS.  For example, unwanted species can hitchhike on many human-driven pathways like watercraft, aquarium and aquascaping trades, (un-)intentional stocking, and resource management activities.

Vectors of primary concern include:

  • Owners of riparian lands
  • Transient users of water resources (e.g., recreational activities, such as boating and fishing)
  • Activities affecting water resources (e.g., commercial, construction activities)
  • Natural and manmade conveyance of waters

Pathways for the spread of AIS are numerous, and may be present in more than one vector.  Examples of pathways include:

  • Watercraft and trailers
  • Docks, lifts, and other such equipment
  • Boat accesses (i.e., activities of users of public, private, and commercial launches)
  • Bait harvesters and bait users
  • Aquarium and land-/aqua-scaping (release of plants and animals into waters)
  • Diving equipment
  • Construction/resource management equipment (e.g., barges, plant harvesters, waders, boots)
  • Stormwater drainage systems (including outlet streams and pipes)
  • Float planes
  • Tributary waters
  • Nature and wildlife (i.e., non-human transport)

While this list is not all-inclusive, it represents the primary concerns identified by the MCWD AIS Task Force, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD) AIS Task Force, and the 2009 MISAC State Management Plan for Invasive Species.

The Intergovernmental Environment:  The MCWD is one of many units of local or state government having jurisdiction within the 181 square-mile District.  Ones that significantly affect the MCWD include:

  • Two counties (Hennepin and Carver)
  • 27 cities and two townships (see Table 2, p. 3 of 2007 MCWD Comprehensive Plan)
  • Three Rivers Park District (TRPD)
    • TRPD owns and operates parks and park reserves in both counties in the District.  It regulates a variety of activities within its lands, including access to and management of waters.  It has its own law enforcement authority.
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB)
    • MPRB owns and operates parks within the City of Minneapolis, and controls access to and management of waters.  It has its own law enforcement authority.
  • Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD)
    • The LMCD is a special unit of government that deals with the governance and management of Lake Minnetonka.  It has a 25-year history with AIS in Lake Minnetonka, and has developed and implemented plans to deal with them.  Its authority is contained in M.S. 103B.601-645.
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
    • The DNR is the state agency that has primary authority and responsibility for the use of, and activities in, the waters of Minnesota.  Its enabling statute gives “charge and control of all public lands, parks, timber, waters, minerals, and wild animals of the state, and of the use, leasing, sale, or other disposition thereof …” (M.S. 84.027, subd. 1).   It is charged with enforcing the state invasive species act, and must provide for coordination among public and private organizations.  It may, through agreements, delegate its authority for specific purposes as allowed by statute.
    • While the DNR has and should have the role of the entity with primary responsibility for AIS management, its funding (2012-13 of $8.6 million, with $4.6 million in one-time funding) is not sufficient to address local conditions and priorities throughout the state.  As State resources are limited and their future uncertain, the District is pursuing an AIS management plan to protect District resources from new AIS introductions or prevent the spread of AIS already present in District waters to non-infested waters within and outside the watershed.  
  • Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR)
    • BWSR is the state agency that administers many of the state’s wetland programs including the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA).  It works with local governments and private landowners to establish and manage native plant communities, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and minimize populations of invasive species.  It is charged to implement comprehensive local water management acts (M.S. 103B.201, 103B.255, 103B.201).  It is responsible for approving amendments to such local comprehensive plans (M.S. 103B.231; Minn. Admin. Rule 8410.0140).
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
    • MPCA is the state agency with responsibility for implementing the federal Clean Water Act administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The Clean Water Act calls for waters to be fishable and swimmable.  The MPCA enacts policies, programs, and regulations to accomplish the goals of the Act.  It directs watershed districts to develop and implement local ordinances to keep waters clean, and sets standards to be met.  The MPCA also performs biological monitoring, a tool for assessing water resource quality regardless of whether the impact is chemical, physical, or biological in nature. 
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)
    • MDA is the State authority for regulation and management of aquatic herbicides and pesticides that have been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

The MCWD AIS Management Plan needs to be sensitive to the complexities and intricacies of this institutional environment as it identifies District initiatives and opportunities for partnerships to address issues in the biological and human environments.

Minnesota State Management Plan for Invasive Species

Appendix D • MISAC Rankings of Species Threats to Minnesota

Each species threat to several impacted areas (see criteria below) was determined by a panel of experts. This rank represents the most severe rank of those assigned by the experts.

 

Ranking* 

Common Name 

Genus

Species

Aquatic Animals

 

 

 

Watch

Chinese mystery snail,

  Japanese trap door snail

Cipangopaludina

spp.

Severe/Invading

Bighead carp

Hypophthalmichthy

nobilis

Severe/Invading

Grass carp

Ctenopharyngodon

Idella

Severe/Invading

Silver carp

Hypophthalmichthys

molitrix

Severe/Not in state

Black carp

Mylopharyngodon

piceu

Severe/Not in state

Fishhook waterflea

Ceropagis

Pengoi

Severe/Not in state

New Zealand mudsnail

Potamopyrgus

antipodarum

Severe/Not in state

Rudd

Scardinius

erythrophthalmus

Severe/Not in state

Zander

Stizostedion

lucioperca

Severe/Established

Common carp, Koi

Cyprinus

Carpio

Severe/ Established

Rainbow smelt

Osmerus

mordax

Severe/Established

Round goby

Neogobius

melanostomus

Severe/Established

Ruffe

Gymnocephalus

cemuus

Severe/Established

Rusty crayfish

Orconectes

rusticus

Severe/Established

Sea lamprey

Petromyzon

marinus

Severe/Established

Spiny water flea

Bythotrephes

longimanus

Severe/Established

Zebra I Quagga mussels

Dreissena

spp.

Moderate/Not in state

Fourspine stickleback

Apeltes

quadracus

Moderate/Established

Alewife

Alosa

pseudoharengus

Moderate/Established

Corbicula

Corbicula

Fluminea

Moderate/Established

Goldfish

Carassius

Auratus

Moderate/Established

Lumholtzi waterflea

Daphnia

Lumholtzi

Moderate/Established

Threespine stickleback

Gasterosteus

Aculeatus

Moderate/Established

Tubenose goby

Proterorhinus

Marmoratus

Moderate/Established

White perch

Marone

Americana

Severe pest, not expected to survive in MN

Chinese I Japanese Mitten Crabs

Eriocheir

sinensis and japonica

Aquatic Plants

 

 

 

Watch/Unknown

Brazilian elodea

Egeria

Densa

Watch

Waterlililes, nonnative or exotic

Nymphaea

nonnative spp.

Severe/Not in state

European frog-bit

Hydrocharis

morsus-ranae

Severe/Not in state

Hydrilla

Hydrilla

Verticillala

Severe/Not in state

Indian swampweed

Hygrophila

Polysperma

Severe/Not in state

Water chestnut

Trapa

Natans

Severe/Established

Curly-leaf pondweed

Potamogeton

Crispus

Severe/Established

Eurasian watermilfoil

Myriophyllum

Spicatum

Severe/Established

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum

Salicaria, virgatum, and any hybrids

Moderate/Not in state

Yellow floating heart

Nymphoides

Peltata

Ranking*

Common Name

Genus

Species

Moderate/Established

Eurasian flowering rush

Butomus

Umbellatus

Moderate/Established

Water cress

Nasturtium

Officinale

Moderate/Established

Yellow iris

Iris

Pseudacoris