Your Green Life: "Sustaining Our Fish Population"

By KBJR News 1

May 10, 2012 Updated May 10, 2012 at 9:03 AM CDT

Duluth, MN

We live in the land of ten thousand lakes, which gives us ten thousand reasons to protect our waters.
But invasive species have been working their way into the northland for years now.

Rich Rezanka, the DNR Invasive Species Specialist says,
"Zebra mussels, spiny water flees, Eurasian water milfoil, curly leaf pond weed, flowery rush, those are kind of the heavy hitters."

It is important that we maintain a sustainable population of fish because much of our economy depends on it.
But it doesn't take much to spread this ecological, and economical, killer.

"Many of these organisms have certain life forms that are easily moved, that are microscopic, in insignificant amounts of water." says Rezanka

That means even a few residual drops of water can introduce invasive's to a clean lake.
The destruction done by invasive species begins mostly at the bottom of the food web.

"Zebra Mussels for example are very good filter feeders so they are able to filter and use nutrients and other food that would normally be used by insects or small fish." Rezanka said.

If smaller fish have nothing to eat then they die, and if smaller fish die, the big fish have no food.
But there are simple things every angler can do to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Rezanka said "An easy way around that is to bring some water from home, leave it in the truck or car while you're fishing. When you're done dump the water out of the minnows, put the fresh water on the minnows, and you can keep them and you good to go the next day."

A new law taking effect July first will allow DNR enforcement officers to double fines if you're caught transporting invasive species.
This would make it a 500 dollar fine for a weed on your boat.
Also, the DNR will not be making boaters attach a sticker to your boats about invasive species.