To Save Our Lakes, Rivers, and Streams

Discoveries at the U of M will stem the spread of invasive species

Nothing says “Minnesota” like water—we have the license plates to prove it—so the threat of invasive species to our precious lakes, rivers, and streams grabs our attention like stepping on a zebra mussel.

Daniel Larkin works to protect and restore the health of our waterways. He and his colleagues with U of M Extension and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are conducting applied research on invasive plant management and ecological restoration.

Dan Larkin Dan Larkin, Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist

Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology

“We are taking a multi-pronged approach to understand what’s driving the spread of invasive species and identify opportunities to limit and control those species and turn back damage that has been done,” says Larkin.

He focuses on three main aspects: assessing risk to better predict and prevent new invasions, testing strategies to control invasions that have occurred, and developing approaches to support the recovery of waters that have been degraded.

“Minnesota’s lakes, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats are incredible ecological, recreational, and economic resources. Developing sound science that can help protect our waters from harmful invasive plant species is important for Minnesota’s future.”

Research and Extension efforts are important pieces of the puzzle, Larkin says, and solutions will come through sustained partnerships among the many stakeholders committed to protecting our state from aquatic invasive species.

“We want to create healthy lakes that support biodiversity, recreation, tourism, and the other goods and services that we value so highly,” he adds. “Lakes are such an important part of the economy and lifestyle of the state that it is hard to imagine Minnesotans who are not affected in some way by their condition.”