Aquatic invasive species prevention

Hennepin County receives funding from the State of Minnesota to manage the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, carp and other species.

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AIS prevention grants

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

Eligible recipients

Eligible recipients include:

  • Local government agencies, such as cities, watershed organizations and park districts
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Public companies and institutions
  • Private, for-profit companies

Eligible project activities

Eligible project activities include:

  • Address pathways of introduction (live bait, retail plant trade, aquarium sales, recreational watercraft and gear and equipment)
  • Address behaviors that spread AIS and provide education
  • Early detection and rapid response efforts
  • Other ideas that prevent the spread of AIS

Funding available

Typical project awards will range from $15,000 to $25,000, with a maximum project award of $50,000. No match required.

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


Applications due by 3 p.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

Applications must be submitted through the new online Supplier Portal.

To access the RFP and apply:

  • Visit the Supplier Portal
  • View the application materials by going to Grant Opportunity - Aquatic Invasive Species Grant
  • You need to be registered to submit an application. For detailed instructions on how to register and submit an application, including video tutorials and more, visit the Supplier Portal information page.


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 2019

In March 2019, the county awarded 10 grants totaling $176,000. Organizations will use funding to train volunteers to detect AIS early in lakes, expand inspections and outreach at public lake accesses, install boat cleaning stations, and fund research and education. Grants will support projects on more than 20 lakes throughout the county.

Grants were awarded to the following projects:

Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission

$10,000 to conduct aquatic vegetation surveys in six lakes, host an AIS early detection workshop and sponsor other education and outreach opportunities

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities

$20,000 to redesign Little Long Lake public access for AIS prevention, which includes a CD3 waterless cleaning system.

Christmas Lake Homeowners Association

$10,000 to fund inspections at the Christmas Lake public access

Fortin Consulting

$23,000 to conduct early detection plant surveys on eight lakes throughout the county

Lake Minnetonka Conservation District

$20,000 to provide inspectors at the smaller public accesses on Lake Minnetonka

Lake Sarah Improvement Association

$22,000 to research patterns of boating traffic to inform AIS prevention action steps

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

$8,000 to pilot the use of environmental DNA technology to search for zebra mussels in six Minneapolis lakes

Three Rivers Park District

$40,000 to provide inspections on six lakes

Wayzata Sailing Foundation

$14,000 to engage 300 youth in discovery, monitoring and exploration of AIS in Lake Minnetonka

Wildlife Forever

$9,000 for AIS prevention messaging at gas pumps

Reports and studies

AIS Prevention Aid Guidelines 2020-2025

Hennepin County has received funding from the State of Minnesota since 2014 to implement plans to stop the introduction or limit the spread of AIS. To receive funding, the county must establish guidelines for the use of the proceeds.

In 2019, adjustments were made to the county’s AIS prevention aid guidelines to direct the use of funds received 2020 through 2025. County staff engaged more than 60 stakeholders in evaluating the county’s AIS prevention programs, guidelines and funding options. Learn more about the evaluation by reading the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Evaluation Report.

Changes to the guidelines include:

  • Updating the goals to reflect the Natural Resources Strategic Plan
  • Defining the county’s best practices for public water access design
  • Emphasizing unpredictability in inspections
  • Setting funding by category goals to ensure the program is comprehensive
  • Funding of core program functions of enforcement at public water accesses and public access redesign project outside of a grant solicitation process to help partners with long-term planning and streamline administrative tasks to implement public access redesign work.

See the 2020-2025 AIS Prevention Aid Guidelines to learn more.

Lakes with limited access study

Hennepin County funded Fortin Consulting to survey 13 lakes and ponds without public boat access for the presence of aquatic invasive species. At least one aquatic invasive species was found in each of these waters, including curly-leaf pondweed, Chinese and banded mystery snails, and invasive carp and goldfish. The results from these surveys show AIS can spread into lakes without public boat accesses. These results highlight that efforts for prevention need to extend to multiple pathways.

Read the full assessing the risk of AIS in waters with no public access report (PDF) to learn more.

Public access redesign study

The county has redesigned several public accesses using theories from behavior change research to prompt boaters to take proper aquatic invasive species prevention actions. The county commissioned an observational study to evaluate the effectiveness of the redesign in encouraging boaters to take action.

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • Redesigned accesses have better compliance rates
  • Redesigned accesses have better self-inspection rates
  • Redesigned accesses are successful at creating social norms and prompting action
  • Boaters behave differently when DNR inspectors are present
  • Data on tool use and timing can be used to improve AIS prevention programs
  • Traditional access signage has limited affect
  • Redesigning accesses can be cost effective way to prevent the spread of AIS

Based on the study results, county staff recommend expanding efforts to redesign accesses to promote aquatic invasive species prevention actions in conjunction with optimizing use times and creating uncertainty as to when inspectors will be present.

Read the full public access redesign observation summary report (PDF) to learn more.

Annual accomplishments report

The annual accomplishments report highlights how Hennepin County is using the state funding and the results of the projects we support.

See the AIS Prevention Program 2018 Accomplishments Report (PDF).

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