Lakes are part of our identity as Minnesotans—and protecting them is an important part of the legacy we leave for future generations. But there are 13 million surface acres of water in Minnesota, and a limited number of paid professionals available to prevent the serious threat lakes face from aquatic invasive species.
At the University of Minnesota, two environmental experts are enlisting passionate citizens to protect the pristine waters they call home. Megan Weber, aquatic invasive species educator with U of M Extension, and Dan Larkin, Ph.D., assistant professor and specialist with Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, are the researchers behind the innovative AIS Detectors program, which invites volunteers to help detect, respond to, and spread the word about invasive species.
The more than 200 volunteers currently in the AIS Detectors program are contributing to field research efforts, helping with data entry, speaking at local events, and even building sampling equipment to detect invasive species in the water.
See how volunteers like Stephen Long and Cecilia Riedman are working to keep the shores of Turtle Lake in north Itasca County free of invasive fish, plants, and invertebrates (like zebra mussels):
See more stories of how the U of M brings discovery to Minnesota’s doorstep.