Over the last decade, a parasitic disease, Heterosporosis, has spread to infect fish in at least 20 water bodies in Minnesota. The parasite infects a number of economically important fish, making them inedible. As the disease can currently only be detected in its late stages, little is known about how it is transmitted and how best to control it.
Earthworms are common throughout much of Minnesota, but few realize that they are not native to the state and were in fact introduced from Europe and Asia. Earthworms are invasive in Minnesota and have been shown to have large and potentially irreversible impacts on hardwood forest biodiversity and regeneration. As dispersal by human actions is the primary means of introduction and spread of invasive earthworms, there exists great potential to arrest the current spread of earthworms already present and prevent the introduction of additional species.
Native trout require clean, cold water that usually originates from springs, but the springs feeding the 173 designated trout streams in southeastern Minnesota are under increasing pressure from current and expected changes in land use. This joint effort by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working to identify and map the springs and the areas that feed water to these springs and to learn how these waters might be affected by development and water use.