St. Louis County office buildings will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Aquatic Invasive Species


Clean Drain Dry Initiative
St. Louis County will directly participate in efforts to prevent the introduction or limit the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) at water access sites throughout the county. A legislative directive has established the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid Program, through which funding is provided to Minnesota counties to participate in AIS control and prevention activities.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) disrupt the health of water bodies, and pose a myriad of threats to natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the region. Key AIS species of concern to St. Louis County include zebra and quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnail, viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), round and tubenose gobies, Eurasian ruffe, faucet snail, mystery snail, spiny water flea, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and rusty crayfish.
St. Louis County, with assistance from Minnesota Sea Grant, has developed an AIS Plan to determine objectives and goals, and developed a process for delegating funds to organizations that will participate in AIS control, prevention, and education activities.

Report AIS

Report New Infestations

If you suspect a new infestation of an aquatic invasive plant or animal, note the exact location, take a photo or keep the specimen, and call the AIS specialist in your region.

An invasive species may already be recorded for your lake or waterbody. If you know what species you have, you can check the infested waters list to see if it is already recorded. If the invasive species is already recorded for your waterbody, there is no need to submit a report.


Contact an AIS Expert

Report AIS to MN DNR


AIS Plan

St. Louis County, with assistance from Minnesota Sea Grant, developed an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan. Actions that the county may support to prevent the spread of AIS are identified in the plan. The plan cross references the MN Department of Natural Resources Local AIS Plan Framework and actions and elements from a Minnesota State Management Plan for Invasive Species. 
The purpose of the plan is two-fold:
  1. Define actions for which the allocated funds may be used to prevent spread of AIS.
  2. Guide St. Louis County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention response.

Risk Assessment

Access the St. Louis County AIS Species Introduction Risk Assessment Tool

Developed by the Natural Resources Research Institute - University of Minnesota Duluth
Josh Dumke and Kristi Nixon

The St. Louis County AIS Introduction Risk Assessment Tool, which has now evolved into the statewide AIS Explorer, was developed under the premise of creating guidance for AIS prevention planning by using two predictive models. Those models included surveillance, which focused on the likelihood of new infestations, and watercraft inspections that prioritized physical intervention at the riskiest lakes. This information guides allocation regarding financial aid and efforts assigned to locations where the greatest impact can occur. Lakes that rank as high-risk are considered good candidates for early detection efforts, increased AIS inspection, education, and enforcement activities. With 1.6 million data points of reported boater movements and a complex array of river connections, thousands of simulations were conducted to test the accuracy of the model to create the tool utilized today. Being that Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and 800,000 boats, education and awareness are especially crucial. The AIS Explorer is free and open to the public to focus on any lake in Minnesota and view model results on a county level.

Main Map

Use this map to turn on and off data layers for AIS presence by species, as well as other useful information like desired game fish, water access locations, and AIS survey locations provided by collaborators.

Spatial Analysis

This map displays boater survey locations and all prior lakes from interview responses indicating users were in a different lake within 4 days prior to being surveyed.

Risk Assessment

This map displays the AIS Introduction Risk Rankings for all lakes of St. Louis County.

State Program Aid

St. Louis County is the recipient of County Program Aid grant funds for AIS prevention from the State of Minnesota as a result of 2014 Session Law Chapter 308. The purpose of these funds is to "prevent the introduction or limit the spread of aquatic invasive species at all access sites within the county" (MN Statutes 477A.19).
Please note the St. Louis County AIS Prevention Program will be available provided state funding is appropriated for the program. 
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are defined under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 84D as non-native species that:
  1. Cause or may cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health, or
  2. Threaten or may threaten natural resources or the use of natural resources in the state.

Grant Application

2024 Grant Application Period is Closed 
(application deadline was November 17, 2023 at 4:30 PM)

Funding Priorities for 2024: St. Louis County is interested in receiving proposals related to aquatic resource (lakes, reservoirs, streams, rivers) protection and maintenance, and social and/or economic impacts of AIS. Our goal is to address AIS issues with multi-disciplinary, integrated solutions based on science, related to natural resources sustainability, and social and economic concerns. Partnerships between organizations to deliver services are encouraged.
The county will only consider supporting implementation of projects that address one or more of the seven categories and associated actions outlined in the St. Louis County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan:
  1. Assess county resources and risks for AIS introduction and spread.
  2. Increase resources for county-wide education and enforcement.
  3. Increase public awareness and participation in prevention.
  4. Raise available resources and leverage partnerships.
  5. Broaden knowledge of and participation in early detection and rapid response activities.
  6. Manage existing populations of AIS.
  7. Address specific pathways for AIS introduction. 
Applicants need to consider and articulate how the work will prevent the introduction or limit the spread of aquatic invasive species at access sites within the county, in accordance with MN Statute 477A.19.
State Program Aid Award: St. Louis County is scheduled to receive $709,393 in 2024. Funding is apportioned to counties using a formula based on the number of public boat accesses and the number of watercraft trailer parking spaces in each county. St. Louis County will retain a portion of annual funding to defray administrative costs.

Past Awards

Grant Recipients and Award Amounts
Burntside Lake Association $ 19,796
Canosia Township $ 30,000
Community Action Duluth $ 45,000
Grand Lake $ 24,515
North Soil and Water Conservation District $ 478,500
Vermilion Lake Association $ 23,500
Wildlife Forever $ 141,000
Burntside Lake Association $ 23,096
Canosia Township $ 30,000
Community Action Duluth $ 34,000
Grand Lake $ 24,515
North Soil and Water Conservation District $ 430,000
U of MN Regents: Sea Grant $ 67,000
Sturgeon Chain Lake Association $ 25,000
Vermilion Lake Association $ 30,800
Wildlife Forever $ 115,000


Burntside Lake Association $ 19,125
Canosia Township $ 30,000
Community Action Duluth $ 20,000
Grand Lake $ 22,164
North Soil and Water Conservation District $ 398,600
U of MN Regents: Sea Grant $ 24,450
Vermilion Lake Association $ 42,191
Wildlife Forever $ 98,000


Burntside Lake Association $ 25,100
Canosia Township $ 25,000
City of Babbitt $ 32,625
Grand Lake $ 20,100
North Soil and Water Conservation District $ 398,600
Vermilion Lake Association $ 62,537
Wildlife Forever $ 98,000


Burntside Lake Association $ 16,000
Canosia Township $ 15,000
City of Duluth $ 10,000
Grand Lake $ 15,000
North Soil and Water Conservation District $ 378,000
Vermilion Lake Association $ 36,000
Community Action $ 60,000
Wildlife Forever $ 75,000


Burntside Lake Association $ 26,000
Canosia Township $ 22,500
Grand Lake $ 14,900
Izaak Walton League of America $ 50,000
North Soil and Water Conservation District $ 391,350
Vermillion Lake Association $ 59,000
Wildlife Forever $ 114,000
Burntside Lake Association $ 43,075
Canosia Township $ 55,114
Duluth Stream Corp $ 60,000
North St Louis SWCD $ 281,600
Regents of U of M Branstrator $ 95,387
Regents of U of M Seagrant $ 19,659
St Louis River Alliance $ 46,900
Vermilion Lake Association $ 96,396
Wildlife Forever $ 90,177
City of Babbitt $ 45,000
Sportsmen's Club of Lake Vermilion $ 23,441
Burntside Lake Association $ 189,857
Pike Lake / Canosia Township $ 16,000
Wildlife Forever $ 102,500
City of Babbitt $ 50,000
Izaak Walton League of America $ 50,000
North St. Louis SWCD $ 60,000
NRRI (Regents of U of M) $ 61,541
NRRI (Regents of U of M) $ 64,740
Sportsmen's Club of Lake Vermilion $ 285,885
St. Louis River Alliance Phragmites $ 70,000
St. Louis River Alliance Sentry $ 48,380
Wild Life Forever $ 107,000


2015 - 2020 Awarded Projects Annual Reports

In progress or completed projects: These reports detail AIS prevention accomplishments through lake associations prevention programs, habitat awareness, species control, early detection, watercraft inspections and decontaminations, education, and public outreach that are ongoing and continue from year to year.