Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

The Danger

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) have become an increasing threat to the ecosystems of Northern Minnesota’s lakes. As of May 2, 2024, approximately 4% of Minnesota’s lakes are invested with Zebra Mussels. A full 8% of Minnesota’s lakes have one form or another of AIS in them. The dangers vary with the specific type of AIS, but—generally speaking—the introduction of any AIS threatens to unbalance Deer Lake’s ecosystem with potentially catastrophic consequences to water quality or fishery health. For more on specific species and their consequences, you can reference the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ AIS guide here.

What you can do

• AIS are almost always passed between lakes by people. They live in live wells or in the nooks and crannies of boats. The best thing you can do is clean, drain, dispose, and dry any boats before they enter Deer Lake.

• Know whether any lake you have visited is infested with AIS.

• Use Five-Star Vendors when you install your docks. These are vendors who have agreed to clean their boats before entering Deer Lake and who have agreed to use the inspection station at the public access before bringing boats into the water.

•Use the public access for any boats that have been in any other lakes. The DLA funds an inspection station at the public landing where we will inspect your boat for AIS and decontaminate it for free.

• If you see any suspected AIS, contact the DLA so that we can send one of our volunteers to determine what species it is and how we can respond.

What the DLA is doing

• With the assistance of Itasca County, the DLA staffs and manages the public landing inspection center.

• The DLA continues to maintain a list of Five-Star Vendors who have agreed to keep our lake clean.

• The DLA and Itasca County have AIS guides for Vacation Rental Property Owner and Resorts.

Deer Lake Association