The Asian invasion has come to Winona, and it is making news.
Seems that commercial fisherman netted a silver carp and a big-head carp last week in the Mississippi River just outside of the city. Both the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the federal government have taken notice of the northern advance of this invasive species. A bill recently introduced by a Minnesota contingent seeks to limit the spread of the Asian carp.
Should these species spread further north they could do great harm to the ecological balance of the river. Silver and big-head carp are nearly insatiable in their consumption of algae and other organisms, which form the base of the food chain. At risk is Minnesota’s multi-billion recreational fishing industry as the carp and sport fish compete for their meals.
Also, in the invasive species news is the discovery and proliferation of zebra mussels in Lake Minnetonka, Medicine Lake, and 28 other Minnesota Lakes. Waterfront owners have been pressing Minnesota legislators to use a portion of the Clean Water Legacy Fund to fight the spread of the small mussel. The fingernail-sized mussel attaches itself to boats, docks, and water intake systems creating a nuisance and damaging the fish population.
The news of the spread of zebra mussels makes it time to remind boaters to help prevent the spread. When leaving a lake and trailering to another body of water, captains must insure that their boat has been cleaned and dried thoroughly. Boaters must be sure to empty and flush their live-well systems before entering another lake. Fisherman should empty and clean their minnow buckets after a day on the water.
It is up to every boater in Minnesota to help prevent the spread of all invasive species.