Aquatic Invasive Species / Invasive (Asian) Carp

Zebra mussels

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) come in a variety of forms from invasive (Asian) carp to zebra mussels to viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). AIS describes non-native species that have the potential to invade, become established, and harm the ecology of Minnesota’s waters. The effects of AIS are widely varying; they may pose a nuisance (like curly-leaf pondweed) or they could completely take over (like zebra mussels). They might also kill large numbers of fish (like VHS) or pose a physical threat to boaters (like flying invasive carp).

Clean Water Action’s work strategically focuses on reducing the risk of introduction of new aquatic invasive species. Prevention is generally the most effective and least costly solution to AIS. Effective controls have been developed for some AIS (like sea lamprey) at great cost – for others, no control measures exist.

Cargo ships that pull into Minnesota’s ports on Lake Superior carry an important array of cargo – they also bring living organisms from other Great Lakes ports and across the globe. Ballast water is likely the way zebra mussels were introduced in the U.S. Find out how Clean Water Action is working to protect Minnesota from the next ballast water invader.

Invasive carp have captured the attention of millions of people across Minnesota and the Midwest. Originally imported to clean holding ponds in the South, they escaped in the 1980’s and have been marching up the Mississippi River ever since. They stand on the doorway of Minnesota and the Great Lakes.

Helpful sites and links:

  • Stop Carp coalition website - This site has information about why invasive carp are a threat to Minnesota, links to news, and more ways that you can help fight the spread invasive carp in Minnesota's waters.
  • How to identify invasive carp - This  video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region explains how to tell Silver Carp and Bighead Carp from other non-invasive species of carp.