Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are aquatic organisms that invade ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range. Their presence may harm native ecosystems as well as commercial, agricultural, or recreational activities that are dependent on these ecosystems.

AIS can be spread many ways including ships, boats, barges, aquatic recreation (fishing, hunting, boating, diving, etc.), water gardening, seaplanes, connected waterways and many other pathways. Through these and other means, thousands of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species have been introduced into our waters.

The Big Stone County Environmental Office manages the County's Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program, made possible through state funding. In 2014, the State of Minnesota funds to each county with public water accesses to help prevent spread of AIS on a local level. With these finances, the county will develop a program to fight AIS through education, monitoring, and inspections.

For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non native species around the globe. These species have been introduced either intentionally or unintentionally.

Examples of Intentional Introductions:

  • Releasing unwanted aquarium fish into a lake.
  • Stocking sport fish outside their native range.
  • Liberating unused bait fish.
  • Introducing non-native species for management (bio-control, ecosystem engineering)              
Examples of Unintentional Introductions:

  • Trailered boats.
  • Ballast water discharge.
  • Escape of organisms from hatcheries and aquaculture facilities.
Currently Big Stone County has the following confirmed AIS infestations:

  • Big Stone Lake - Curly-leaf pondweed
  • Artichoke Lake - Curly-leaf pondweed                                                                                      

To learn more please get in touch with the Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker! campaign or visit the Minnesota DNR Aquatic Invasive Species website.