Aquatic invasive species prevention

Starting in 2014, the State of Minnesota is providing funding to all Minnesota counties to manage the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, carp and other species. 

Hennepin County received more than $470,000 in 2014 and 2015 from the State of Minnesota for programs that prevent the introduction or limit the spread of AIS. See the Hennepin County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid Guidelines (PDF) for how the county plans to use the funding.

In 2015, the county allocated funding to a variety of programs, including to:

  • Develop a concept plan for a permanent regional boat washing station.
  • Enhance public access inspections.
  • Support innovative education efforts.
  • Research milfoil genetics for possible control strategies.
  • Train residents on AIS detection.
  • Provide grant funding for projects that allow partners to work on a variety of issues at the local level.

For more information on these projects, see the AIS Prevention Program 2015 Accomplishments Report (PDF).

See below for information about programs that are currently being implemented.

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AIS prevention grants

Grant funds are available to help local units of government and organizations implement projects that prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. 

For more information, see the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevent Grants flyer (PDF).

Eligible recipients

Local government agencies and nonprofit organization in Hennepin County, such as cities, watersheds, park districts and lake associations, are eligible to apply.

Eligible project activities

Eligible project activities include:

  • Assessing the risk of AIS introduction and the resources available to respond.
  • Broadening knowledge and participation in early detection and rapid response.
  • Managing existing AIS populations.
  • Researching and addressing specific pathways of introduction.
  • Increasing enforcement resources.
  • Increasing public awareness and participation in prevention.

Funding available

Up to $200,000 in grants funds are available. Typical project awards will range from $15,000 to $25,000, with a maximum project award of $50,000.

Eligible expenses include consulting fees, staff time, materials, supplies, labor, printing and promotions.


Applications due by 4:30 p.m. on January 15, 2016. 

To apply, complete the:


Staff is available to answer questions, offer resources and provide feedback on project ideas.

For more information, contact Tony Brough at or 612-348-4378.

Recently awarded grants

Grants awarded 2016

In April 2016, the county awarded four grants for projects that will prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. The projects will increase education, enhance early detection efforts, expand inspections and support research. 

Grants were awarded for the following projects:

  • Eagle Lake Preservation Association: $19,000 to sponsor a limnologist to inspect up to eight lakes throughout the county. The inspections will be conducted alongside lakeshore property owners who will be trained in how to detect possible new and emerging aquatic invasive species. The goal is to gain a better understanding of what aquatic invasive species are currently in the county and potentially detect new aquatic invasive species early when management may still be an option.
  • Minnehaha Creek Watershed District:  $20,000 to continue its study with Montana State University and the University of Minnesota on the occurrence and distribution of watermilfoil genotypes on Lake Minnetonka. The grant will fund further investigation and genetic analysis of milfoil samples, allowing researchers to develop a clearer and more definitive understanding of the occurrence and distribution of watermilfoil genotypes in Lake Minnetonka and Christmas Lake. This further study will aim to determine if management is selecting for hybrids, if some or many hybrid genotypes are more resistant to control, and if strategies can be improved to manage pure Eurasian and hybrid watermilfoils.
  • Minnehaha Creek Watershed District: $24,000 to collaborate with the University of Minnesota to conduct field research on strategies to control population growth rates of zebra mussels. 
  • Three Rivers Park District: $30,000 to expand watercraft inspection and outreach activities to encourage boaters to take action to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Increased inspections and outreach will be expanded at public accesses on Christmas, Fish, Medicine, Bryan, Lower Twin and Little Long lakes.

In addition to awarding grants, the county will retain $111,000 of AIS Prevention Aid from the State of Minnesota to implement the following projects:

  • $70,000 to help purchase and install two programmable message boards on the Narrows Channel Bridge, one of the heaviest used boating channels on Lake Minnetonka. The board will communicate both AIS prevention and public safety messages.
  • $25,000 to raise awareness of necessary AIS prevention actions through the Clean, Drain, Dry campaign. 
  • $16,000 for phase two of the alternative pathway project that will work with retailers in the county carrying regulated aquatic species to increase awareness among aquarium hobbyists, backyard pond owners, and water gardeners about the importance of not releasing unwanted fish or aquatic plants.

Grants awarded 2015 

In March 2015, the county awarded six grants for projects that will prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. The projects will increase education, improve equipment, support research, and expand inspections. The grantees will be required to collect data and report on the results of the projects, such as number of people reached and the number of boats inspected or decontaminated.

The following projects were awarded:

  • City of Eden Prairie: $15,000 to create and install new, high-quality signage at select boat accesses and to increase watercraft inspections at Mitchell, Red Rock, Riley, Round and Staring Lakes. The Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District is also contributing $25,000 to this project.
  • Minnehaha Creek Watershed District: $15,417 to collaborate with the University of Minnesota and Montana State University to study milfoil types and management methods within Lake Minnetonka. The findings of this research could help guide future milfoil management decisions in Lake Minnetonka and throughout Minnesota.
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board: $20,800 for two projects:
    • $6,800 to design and create a portable bike and trailer that will be used to educate the public about aquatic invasive species prevention. The bike and trailer will include interactive features to engage park visitors and event participants.
    • $14,000 to work with partners to create unique and targeted invasive species prevention messages that will reach new audiences.
  • Three Rivers Park District: $45,000 for two projects:
    • $25,000 to purchase and operate a mobile decontamination unit that will be located at Baker Park Reserve near the public boat access to Lake Independence. The unit will be available to decontaminate watercraft and equipment.
    • $20,000 to expand watercraft inspection and education activities on six lakes within its park lands.

The county will retain $3,423 to purchase a hot water pressure washer for use by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Water Patrol to decontaminate its boats and equipment before moving from lake to lake.

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