Our Lake, Our Legacy: protecting Minnesota’s life at the lake


(peaceful music) – [Megan] I think there’s a
strong emotional connection to lakes by Minnesotans because it’s really a
big part of our identity and we all want to protect
that for future generations. – So much of Minnesota’s culture and recreation is based around the water and enjoying our lakes and rivers. So aquatic invasive
species and other threats to those habitats really
affect people personally. I’m Dan Larkin. – And I’m Megan Weber and
we’re protecting Minnesota’s life at the lake. (water splashing) (upbeat music) There’s over 13 million surface
acres of water in Minnesota. – [Dan] That’s a lot of water to cover. – [Megan] And a real limited number of paid professionals to do
aquatic invasive species work. The AIS Detectors program was started by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive
Species Research Center in partnership with the
University of Minnesota extension. We work to develop a training
program for our volunteers and then have worked with Minnesota DNR to help review that training. – [Dan] Got some Utricularia here. – [Megan] Oh yeah. – Minnesota’s lakes, rivers
and streams are at risk from a variety of
aquatic invasive species, including invasive fish, invasive plants and
invasive invertebrates. Aquatic invasive species
are a major issue, and we’re developing
programs like AIS Detectors to increase capacity
of everyday Minnesotans to get involved in
responding to this challenge. Basically give them the
training and education to be eyes on the water and
increasing our capacity for early detection. (boat motor) (soft music) – We are on the shores of Turtle Lake in north Itasca County. We were drawn to the AIS Detector program because we thought it would
be a good way to get involved in doing things to help protect our lake and spend more time together. What we do is we talk together about which parts of the lake
shore we wanna do a survey on and we will go to that
section of the shoreline and then we’ll go back
there about a month later and at that time we’re
looking for a change. And one of our goals was to
educate and reach out to a lot of the people around us
to help keep those species from spreading to these pristine waters. – The way we’re implementing
a prevention program, it’s primarily focused
on the local community. We meet people who once they
hear what we’re doing say, “Oh, we wanna join you.” So this work is definitely
making a difference. – That’s another way that
the AIS Detectors program is really important is it
provides people with local experts to talk about aquatic
invasive species issues. – The AIS Detectors program has had a really good response so far. We’ve completed two years of training and we have over 200 people
who have passed the course and are now contributing volunteer hours. – The way we look at this
is, this is our lake, and this is our legacy. (playful music)

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