Common carp, introduced from eastern Europe over a century ago, are an invasive species in Minnesota that adversely affect water quality and aquatic communities, particularly in shallow lakes and wetlands. While solutions for suppressing common carp reproduction and abundance are emerging, controlling the movement of common carp, and therefore preventing reinfestation, has so far proved difficult.
The Minnesota County Geologic Atlas program is an ongoing effort begun in 1982 that is being conducted jointly by the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program collects information on the geology of Minnesota to create maps and reports depicting the characteristics and pollution sensitivity of Minnesota's ground-water resources.
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.
The Center for Changing Landscapes was directed by the Minnesota State Legislature to create a long-range framework for an integrated statewide parks and trails system that provides information on the natural resource-based recreational opportunities available throughout the state. The detailed framework must include an inventory of existing regionally and statewide significant parks and trails, respond to recreational trends and demographic changes, and identify underserved areas, overused facilities, and gaps in the current parks and trails system (Minn. Gen. Laws 64.8 § 6).
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.
Because Minnesota is at the juncture of three distinct types of ecosystems - western prairie, northern coniferous forest, and eastern deciduous forest - the region is particularly sensitive to changes in climate conditions. Understanding how the plants, animals, and waterways of Minnesota might respond to these changes will help the state plan for and manage the potential impacts. The University of Minnesota's Department of Forestry is using this appropriation to analyze past climate conditions in Minnesota and make estimates pertaining to changes expected in the foreseeable future.
Ecological restorations aim to aid the recovery of native ecosystems that have been degraded or lost. However, very seldom are restorations evaluated past the initial implementation phase to determine whether the efforts achieved their goals and the funds spent were a strategic conservation investment. Monitoring and evaluation of restorations can teach what works and what does not in order to advance restoration practices and increase the likelihood of success for future projects.
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.