Did you know earthworms are an exotic species in Minnesota because they do not naturally occur here? They were brought in by European settlers and can cause significant damage to forested areas. The earthworms eat the leaves off of the forest floor that would normally create a spongy layer of duff. This layer of duff serves an important function by controlling erosion and allowing wildflowers and ferns to grow. Without this layer soil erosion occurs and small trees and ground dwelling animals are prevented from thriving in the forest. In order to prevent the spread of earthworms in the canoe country or any forest in Minnesota the help of all anglers is needed. It is illegal to throw crawlers onto the ground or into the water, so unwanted bait should be placed in the trash. This will help protect the forests from future damage by earthworms. For more dirt on the earthworm check out this site.