Invasive species are on the rise and I don’t want to see them on the Gunflint Trail. While some exotic species may cause no harm there are other non-native invasive species that continue to be spread by humans that wreak havoc on our land and in our waters.
A non-native species is one that doesn’t normally belong in the environment where it ended up. It somehow made it’s way to a new place through the fault of a human. Sometimes loggers transport plant species on their equipment or campers carry them on their firewood like the Emerald Ash Borer.
Minnesota residents are to be on the look out for the Emerald Ash Borer(EAB). According to the Minnesota DNR the first report of the EAB in Wisconsin near Lake Michigan was last summer. This species is responsible for killing millions of ash trees in Eastern States. With over 900 million ash trees in Minnesota residents better be alert for this harmful beetle.
Aquatic invasive species are also on the rise. First it was the Spiny Water Flea swimming in our lakes and now the Zebra Mussel could be on it’s way. These invasive species often find their way from Europe or Asia in the ballasts of ships coming to the US via the Great Lakes. Once in the Great Lakes they are spread to interior lakes and streams by hitching rides on recreational or fishing boats.
The MN DNR says,
Boaters can help prevent further spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species by taking a few simple extra precautions: inspect and remove all visible aquatic plants, animals and mud from boats, trailers and equipment such as anchors before leaving a water access; inspect and remove all visible aquatic plants, animals or mud from docks, boat lifts and swim rafts before transporting to another water; drain all water from boats – including live wells, bilges and bait buckets – before leaving a water access; spray or rinse boats with high pressure and/or hot water, or let them dry thoroughly for five days before transporting to another water.
It sounds like quite a bit of work to some people and it is probably more than they are used to doing. But if recreation in the lakes and streams is desired whether it’s for fishing or boating then it is important for everyone to want to keep the invasive species out.
Invasive species can greatly affect not only the ecology of an area but also the economy. Farmers lose crops, forests are deforested, homeowners struggle with their shorelines and waterways become clogged damaging the fisheries. I want invasive species to stay away and I appreciate your help in keeping them away from the Gunflint Trail.