Fortin Consulting was hired by Hennepin County to do research on identifying sources of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) other than transport by watercraft. We specifically looked at pet stores and nurseries as potential sources of AIS. We identified all of the pet stores and nurseries in Hennepin County, called them to determine if they carried live aquatic/pond plants and animals, and visited all those that did.
Although no species listed on the prohibited species lists were found, several plant and fish species listed on the regulated species list were found and are being sold in Hennepin County, and likely throughout the state. Regulated species are legal to sell, but cannot be released to a Minnesota water.
In 2016, we spoke to managers and owners of the pet stores and nurseries visited to determine their knowledge of AIS and find out what would help them be more educated and to pass on information to their customers. We will continue to work with these companies in 2017.
Fortin Consulting was hired by Hennepin County to create an AIS Early Detector workshop for citizens. The workshop includes a presentation on AIS species and focuses on those that are either not found or widespread in Minnesota. Live and preserved samples of many of the AIS were purchased or collected and made available for participants to view and touch while practicing identifying the different plants and invertebrates. Participants leave more equipped to look for these species in lakes, streams and wetlands. Early detection can help improve the potential for eradication or reduce costs for management of AIS. We held 3 of these workshops in 2015.
In 2016 Hennepin County hired FCI to work with lake volunteers and train them to be early AIS detectors. We worked with 7 lake groups and went out on their lakes with them and did an initial survey of the lake while training them in monitoring techniques. In addition to looking at plants, volunteers will also check for invasive crayfish, zebra mussels and other species. Volunteer groups were equipped with monitoring devices and plans to help guide their volunteer work.
We can conduct workshops on AIS or aquatic plants for your lake association or group.