Minnesotans and North Dakotans who care about lakes and rivers are rightly concerned about zebra mussels, an invasive species that are spreading quickly in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Zebra mussels are a prolific, fingernail-sized clam that can cause problems for recreational water users and can have a long-term negative affect on native fish populations.
Many outdoorsmen who pay close attention to invasive species, however, are even more concerned about the spread of silver carp and bighead carp into the Upper Midwest. Both are strains of Asian carp that can have devastating effects on water bodies because they essentially take over rivers and lakes. They breed prolifically and eat massive amounts of plankton and other tiny critters. This throws the food chain out of whack and leaves native fish populations in tatters.
Silver and bighead carp are in the southern reaches of the MIssissippi River in Minnesota, although there is no evidence of the fish reproducing in Minnesota. Silver carp are also in South Dakota and the James River in North Dakota, where they have reproduced.
Silver carp have become something of a YouTube sensation because they have an instinct to jump out of the water when they hear a motor. People have actually been injured by the leaping carp.
Here's a video of two guys boating on the Wabash River in Indiana and while they sound like they are having a great time, remember that these carp are a nuisance that can ruin bodies of water for fishing and recreation.
(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)