Invasive Species

Eyes on the Lake

This will help us all with learning what plants are native and healthy for our lakes vs. the invasive plants. We hope you find this information helpful. Thanks for helping to keep our waters clean.

Is It Eurasian Milfoil or Northern Milfoil?

Eurasian watermilfoil looks similar to many native, beneficial watermilfoils found in Minnesota lakes and rivers. Its common native look-alike is northern watermilfoil. It’s spread primarily through the movement of water-related equipment. Plant fragments can get tangled on boats, trailers, motors, anchors and other water-related equipment. All it takes is a single plant fragment to start a new population. It is a prohibited invasive species in Minnesota, which means it is unlawful (a misdemeanor) to possess, import, purchase, transport or introduce these species except under a permit for disposal, control, research or education.

Eurasian watermilfoil impacts:

  • Dense mats at the water’s surface inhibit water recreationists.
  • Overtakes habitat and outcompetes native aquatic plants, potentially lowering diversity.
  • Provides unsuitable shelter, food, and nesting habitat for native animals.
Credits: AIS Identification Guide: A Minnesota Handbook, MN DNR website:

Keys to Identifying the 2 Types of Milfoil


  • Featherly looking with 4 leaves per whorl
  • Leaves have central axis with 12-20 leaflet pairs
  • Can grow up to 10 feet long
  • Produces pink & white flowers on spike above surface
  • Flowers 2x/year; usually mid-June & late-July
  • Leaves become limp when taken out of water
  • Grows best in 3-15 feet
  • 4 leaves per whorl
  • Leaves have central axis
  • Each leaf has 4-11 leaflet pairs
  • Forms winter bud in late fall and winter
  • Leaves are rigid when taken out of water
  • Grows underwater in depths of up to 20 feet

Funding AIS Prevention and Remediation

In 2012 we established a dedicated fund for AIS prevention and remediation. This fund will be used to prevent AIS from entering our lakes or will be used to eradicate or manage AIS if it does get into our lakes. You will be asked to donate to this fund when you renew your membership or you can send a check to WLBCR Lakes Assoc, PO Box 133, Longville, MN 56655 and indicate the check is for the AIS Fund.

2014 Update

WLBCR Lakes Association adopted an AIS Plan. The plan we adopted is somewhat generic and will be updated with more specific activities and projects in the coming months. We quickly adopted the generic plan in case we need to have one in place for AIS inspections next year. Here is the plan: WLBCR AIS Plan

2013 Update

County created a plan for AIS prevention. It is holding open houses to go over the plan and take input. Please review the plan and attend the meeting if you can. The meeting dates are: Wednesday, August 7 from 4-7 pm in the Rotary Room of the Walker Area Community Center and Thursday, August 8 from 4-6 pm in the Board Room at the Cass County Land Department, Backus. The plan is open for comments through Friday, August 30. Here is a link to the proposed plan. Cass County AIS Plan

The State of Minnesota also has a plan created in 2009. See it here: State Plan

2012 update

The Minnesota DNR, in cooperation with Linder Media, has created a video called Minnesota Waters at Risk discussing AIS issues.

2012 DNR AIS Video (about 25 minutes long so plan accordingly)

2011 Update

In 2011 the AIS committee scheduled DNR training of 17 boat inspector volunteers. These people spend time at the public accesses (normally on weekends) and discuss AIS with boaters entering and leaving our lakes. They also inspect the boats for presence of AIS and talk about the new AIS laws and how they affect boaters and fisherman.

Our lake association takes the issue of invasive species very seriously. Zebra mussels appear to be the most serious threat we face today. Once they are in a lake, there is no known method to control or contain them. The only way to stop them is to not let them into our lakes.

Here are links to a couple videos that discuss the zebra mussel issue in the Great Lakes:

TV segments (produced by Wildlife Forever)

You Tube Video (created by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative)

2010 Update

In 2010 we created a new committee headed by Randy Helland that deals with Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). This first year was very successful.

Additional signs were placed at the two public accesses on Little Boy and Wabedo Lakes as well as the resorts that instructed the boat owner on how to prepare the boat before and after putting it in the water. Signs were also placed dealing with AIS and also showing the "Sensitive Shoreline" areas.

We invited Darrin Hoverson of the Minnesota DNR to a Board meeting to discuss AIS. Dick Sternberg of Little Boy Lake and former DNR did a presentation on zebra mussels at our annual meeting. Doug Schultz of the Walker DNR came and trained our Beach Captains.

Property owners volunteered to be Beach Captains. These Captains each took a section of shoreline and looked for AIS in the near-shore areas of their assigned sections. These shoreline checks are performed in late August when the vegetation is at its peak growth.