DNR angling for public input on 13 high-risk invasive species

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting public comments through Dec. 9, 2022, on its proposal to classify 13 species or species groups of high-risk invasive aquatic plants, fish, and invertebrates as prohibited invasive species. 

What is this rule about?

This rulemaking will add additional species to the Prohibited Invasive Species List. If you are not interested in this topic, you may disregard this notice.

Why is the DNR proposing to add additional species to the Prohibited Invasive Species List?

The DNR has the responsibility to protect Minnesota’s environment, economy, and natural resources from potential harm from these species. Thirteen species or species groups have been identified as high risk. The reasons for listing the species are summarized below.

Mitten crab, Nile perch, snakehead fish, walking catfish

The mitten crab, Nile perch, snakehead family, and walking catfish family are proposed for regulation in Minnesota for consistency with the federal injurious wildlife species list. Due to a reinterpretation of this federal law in 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not have the jurisdiction to prohibit the interstate transport of species on the federal injurious wildlife species list within the continental U.S., but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains an authority to prohibit interstate commerce of state-banned species. By listing these federally injurious wildlife species–and incorporating the federal injurious wildlife list of fish, mollusks, and crustaceans– Minnesota will help to close regulatory gaps in the Great Lakes region.

Yellow floating-heart, tench, golden mussel, marbled crayfish (marmorkrebs)

The Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force has released two lists of “least wanted” aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes basin, most recently adding several species in 2018. Many of these species are already on Minnesota’s list of Prohibited Invasive Species, but yellow floating-heart, tench, golden mussel, and marbled crayfish (marmorkreb) are not. See the Great Lakes Least Wanted Aquatic Invasive Species to view their current list.

Golden clam

Populations of golden clams have already established themselves in some Minnesota waters. Golden clams are likely to have negative economic impacts and may also have negative impacts on native mussel fauna. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identifies this species as a high risk.

Tubenose gobies (any fish belonging to the genus Proterorhinus)

The western tubenose goby is already listed as a Prohibited Invasive Species in Minnesota, and there are several other species in the genus that are difficult to distinguish from one another. None of these species are native to North America.

Eastern mosquitofish

 Eastern and western mosquitofish have both been stocked for mosquito control and have both been invasive in places they were introduced. The two species were once considered subspecies of a single species. Western mosquitofish are listed as Prohibited Invasive Species in Minnesota. Adding eastern mosquitofish would reduce the risk that this close relative would be introduced to the state.

Jumping worms

Jumping worms include multiple species in the Amynthas and Metaphire genera. The DNR jumping worm webpage lists the impacts of jumping worms, including impacts on soils and plants. While some species are known to be present in some Minnesota urban areas, most of Minnesota is not known to have any of the jumping worm species. Jumping worms are currently classified as Unlisted Non-native Species, which means they cannot be released into a free-living state, but without regulation as a Prohibited Invasive Species, they can be sold. Listing these species as Prohibited Invasive Species would stop sales of jumping worms, strengthen regulations to make sure that worm species that are allowed to be sold are not contaminated with jumping worms, and reduce the potential spread of jumping worms in the state. The DNR will provide best management practices surrounding cleaning equipment, heat treatment of compost, and other actions to companies that work with soil, mulch, compost, or other materials that may harbor jumping worms.

Non-native subspecies of Phragmites (common reed)

The DNR non-native subspecies of Phragmites webpage lists the impacts of this subspecies including forming monocultures in wetlands and reducing habitat for native plant and animal species. The proposed rule would not apply to Minnesota’s native subspecies of Phragmites. The impacts of the non-native subspecies of Phragmites have led the DNR to take a statewide leadership role with this species. The DNR invasive species program applied for and received federal funding from a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin to implement control of non-native Phragmites on a statewide level through a comprehensive plan.

The DNR has been working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the University of Minnesota, and the approximately ten wastewater treatment plants in the state that currently use non-native Phragmites for dewatering biosolids to develop a plan for coordinated control across the state. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture regulates non-native Phragmites as a Prohibited Noxious Weed on the Control List with an exemption for wastewater treatment plants. The DNR and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture would work together to continue to develop best practices to reduce the spread of the sites and to coordinate permitting for these facilities.

How do I get detailed information on the species?
Visit the Invasive Species Program Rulemaking webpage to view more information, detailed classification summaries for the species and frequently asked questions webpages for the species.

How do I comment on the proposed rules?
The DNR is accepting written comments on these proposed rules from October 31, 2022 to December 9, 2022. Please submit your comments to ais.dnr@state.mn.us. All information you submit in a public comment during formal rulemaking proceedings is public data, including your name and contact information. The DNR invasive species rulemaking website will be updated with final decisions about the proposed rules.

How do I view additional rulemaking documents?
The following documents are posted on the Invasive Species Program Rulemaking webpage as well as linked below:

Proposed rules
Notice of Intent to Adopt Expedited Rules
If you want a free paper copy of the proposed rules, call or email the DNR contact person listed below and provide your address.

To join the “Aquatic Invasive Species News” email list serve and get aquatic invasive species news updates, go to the aquatic invasive species homepage and submit your email in the “Sign up for updates” box at the bottom of the page.