Initiative Foundation Get Logos

Aquatic Invasive Species


A tag that gives a decontaminated boat a speedy pass to get back on the water, a media campaign aimed at young water recreationalists and a rusty crayfish trapping effort are among partner projects that have been approved for aquatic invasive species grants. Learn more about these innovative projects.

Request for Proposals: Round 4

The fourth round review schedule is as follows:

Due Date Action Required
Sept. 15 Letters of inquiry submission deadline (noon)
Sept. 22 Interactive interviews for eligible project proponents and review team to define scope, clarify budget or design questions and guide development of full proposals
Sept. 29 Q&A webinar for full proposal applicants
Oct. 16 Full proposal deadline
Oct. 23 Final scoring and selection of pilot projects
Oct. 27 Announcement of successful applicants


This Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks letters of inquiry from eligible partners to fund the implementation or expansion of innovative pilot projects to prevent the introduction or spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) into targeted waters and to assess the effectiveness of these strategies.

The Initiative Foundation will award a total of $3.6 million to fund a limited number of pilot projects. This grant was recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) and funded by the Minnesota Legislature through the Outdoor Heritage Fund. 

Who is eligible to apply?
What types of projects are considered innovative and eligible?
What activities are not eligible?
What are the matching requirements?
What is the application process?
How can I get additional program information?

Who Is Eligible To Apply?

  • Local units of government including joint powers organizations
  • Tribal governments
  • Registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations

Priority will be given to local partnerships and those that demonstrate the administrative, financial and logistical capacity to effectively implement innovative AIS prevention strategies.

What Types Of Projects Are Considered Innovative And Eligible?

This program will fund only innovative and comprehensive strategies that accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Reach new audiences
  • Serve new geographic areas
  • Employ existing AIS prevention technologies in new ways
  • Pilot emerging prevention strategies
  • Employ locally enforced experimental regulations on targeted waters
  • Pilot innovative methods of funding, administration, or implementation

What Activities Are Not Eligible?

This program cannot fund:

  • Existing AIS prevention programs and/or strategies commonly being employed throughout Minnesota.
  • Existing AIS control projects on infested lakes or rivers unless they are specifically intended to prevent AIS spread to targeted uninfested waters.
  • User fee or tax reduction, replacement of existing revenue streams, or other supplanting of government funding.

What Are The Matching Requirements?

The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) in December 2014 approved the following match requirement amendments:

  • Outdoor Heritage funds can pay up to 50 percent of project costs.
  • Local match must be 20 percent (local match can include in-kind services or materials, and must include all costs of evaluation).
  • The remaining 30 percent can be from any source including other state funds with the exclusion of other Outdoor Heritage Fund projects.

Please note: Capital costs or purchases are not eligible for state funding but may be used as a project-related matching expense.

What Is The Application Process?

Applicants must submit an online letter of inquiry on this website including:

  • Sponsoring organization information
  • Description of the targeted waters, recreational pressures, and risk of infestation
  • AIS threats of concern
  • Proposed innovative strategies and potential implementation partners
  • Administrative and financial capacity to administer the program
  • Availability of current AIS survey data
  • A summary of local AIS education, monitoring, and prevention/control efforts to date

A review committee will score the inquiries and invite a select group to submit full proposals. The committee will score the full proposals and may recommend projects for funding.

Additional Program Information

This project is intended to fund legal, effective and financially sustainable methods of preventing the spread of AIS through a range of education and outreach, inspection and decontamination, enforcement and/or other methods that can be administered locally. Selected pilot projects must marshal additional manpower, equipment and funding to extend and expand the AIS prevention effort. Adaptive management to allow strategies to be modified or replaced during the active project is encouraged but must be approved prior to implementation. Selected pilot projects must complete the following three goals:

Goal 1: AIS Planning and Data Collection—Pilot projects will be required to have current baseline monitoring completed on the presence of AIS in targeted waters. Activities which can receive funding may include:

  • Creation of a comprehensive AIS prevention plan following a standard DNR-approved format.
  • Update of an existing AIS prevention plan to add new activities or expand geography served.
  • Assemble existing data on known aquatic invasive species on targeted waters.

These activities will help guide and track efficient and effective long-term AIS prevention activities.

Goal 2: Prevention and Containment—The primary goal of this project is to keep targeted waters free of new AIS. All activities under this goal are intended to provide long-term solutions to AIS infestation and must be based on the best available science regarding AIS prevention and control. Activities which can receive funding may include:

  • Strategies to identify pathway risks and enhance or manage access to and from targeted waters to control AIS.
  • Inspection and decontamination of watercraft and other resource user equipment to limit the spread of AIS to and from targeted waters.
  • A cooperative strategy to enhance enforcement of existing AIS laws, enact experimental local regulations, pilot new AIS prevention technologies, or utilize existing AIS prevention technologies in new ways.
  • Extensive public information, outreach or educational efforts, including social marketing principles or campaigns, on AIS prevention. Priority considerations will be given to campaigns that reach new audiences or promise to offer potential for greater impact or effectiveness.

Goal 3: AIS Pilot Project Results Reporting—Recipients must secure non-Outdoor Heritage Fund monies for the establishment of a rigorous results reporting program, using an evaluation plan designed for each project, to monitor and report interim as well as overall progress, successes and challenges. Activities to be completed under this goal will include:

  • Use of science-based strategic planning and evaluation models.
  • Survey reports on the reactions and attitudes of lake residents, lake service providers, business owners, and non-riparian citizens to aggressive, targeted approaches to prevent human-assisted AIS migration to or from targeted waters, and the unintended consequences or strategies that failed to achieve their intended goals.
  • Reports on the degree of support, interaction and cooperation between State and local governments, Tribal governments, and private organizations in administering AIS prevention/control efforts.
  • Risk management and cost/benefit analyses.
  • The ability of a project to attract local or other outside matching resources to expand and financially sustain the AIS prevention/control effort.
  • Recommendations for changes or additions to AIS prevention and regulation laws at the State or local level.

Matching funds must equal at least 10 percent (10%) of total project budget. Matching funds can be provided by any mix of public or private sources, but cannot include any other monies from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. Projects which are able to provide a larger match percentage will receive strong consideration, but the primary criteria for evaluation will be to reward innovation in strategies, partnerships, and funding mechanisms that can be replicated and create/sustain long term AIS prevention and control.

Financial support for prevention activities may be applied to projects upon notice of formal pilot project award, with a two year implementation window. Monitoring to assess impact must be maintained for three to five years as appropriate and identified in the reporting criteria.

Clean Water Land & Legacy AmendmentThe Minnesota Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment is working to restore, protect and enhance Minnesota's wetlands, prairies, forests and habitat for fish, game and wildlife. For more information, visit the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council website.

Submitting Your Letter of Inquiry

Prospective applicants must submit ...
• A list of proposed strategies and potential implementation partners
• Administrative and financial capacity to administer the program, including project budget
• Description of proposed project area, including characterization of surface waters, recreational pressures, and risk of infestation
• Availability of current AIS and fish and wildlife habitat survey data
• A summary of local AIS education, monitoring, and prevention/control efforts to date.

Start Inquiry     Account Login

Google Chrome is the preferred browser for the online application process. Don't have Chrome?
                                                  DOWNLOAD CHROME

Click Start Inquiry to create an account and submit your first inquiry or to start a new inquiry. Click Account Login to return to an existing inquiry/proposal, access application history or submit a grant report. If you're experiencing technical difficulties, send an email to the Initiative Foundation and we'll help you get back on track. Thank you!

  • Captcha Code

    Click the image to see another captcha.

Reading Resources

Title Date Added Description Size Type
AIS Legislative Recap
Jun 16th, 2014 11:46 am This January 2011 report summarizes the recommendations of a stakeholder group and the DNR’s response to the recommendations. 213KB PDF
Aquatic Nuisance Species Update
Jun 16th, 2014 11:51 am A fall/winter 1999 report outlining a quantitative approach to predict potential nonindigenous aquatic plant species problems. 233KB PDF
Buchan-Padilla 1999 Report
Jun 16th, 2014 11:52 am A study estimating the probability of long-distance overland dispersal of invading aquatic species. 193KB PDF
Buchan-Padilla 2000 report
Jun 16th, 2014 11:54 am A 2000 study predicting the likelihood of eurasian watermilfoil presence in lakes. 422KB PDF
Capers 2007 Report
Jun 16th, 2014 11:55 am A 2007 study of the aquatic plant community invasability and scale-dependent pattersn in native and invasive species richness. 220KB PDF
Comparing population abundance of AIS
Jun 16th, 2014 11:57 am A 2013 study comparing population abundance of invasive and native aquatic species. 291KB PDF
Johnson 2001report
Jun 16th, 2014 11:58 am A 2001 study of overland dispersal of aquatic invasive species: a risk assessment of transient recreational boating. 274KB PDF
Madsen 1998 report
Jun 16th, 2014 12:00 pm A 1998 study predicting invasion success of eurasian watermilfoil. 70KB PDF
Madsen 1999 report
Jun 16th, 2014 12:01 pm A 1999 study predicting the invasion of eurasian watermilfoil into northern lakes. 459KB PDF
Nichols-Buchan 1997 report
Jun 16th, 2014 12:02 pm A 1997 study on the use of native macrophytes as indicators of suitable eurasian watermilfoil habitat in Wisconsin lakes. 66KB PDF
Spear 2013 report
Jun 16th, 2014 12:03 pm A 2013 study of human population density in relation to alien species richness in protected areas. 498KB PDF
Zequanox background paper
Jun 16th, 2014 12:06 pm An in-depth review of the discovery and commercialization of a new, non-chemical alternative for invasive mussel control. 877KB PDF
MInnesota Sea Grants AIS Guide
Aug 4th, 2014 4:01 pm A 2014 guide that provides a menu of strategies from which counties can use to get the most from Minnesota's AIS Prevention Aid dollars. 348KB PDF
AIS Prevention Fact Sheet
Sep 2nd, 2014 1:19 pm Information on AIS prevention. 178KB PDF

Quick Facts About Minnesota Invasives


Zebra Mussel

What is it? A fingernail-sized mussel that attach to solid surfaces. A native of Eastern Europe brought to the Great Lakes in ship ballasts, zebra mussels have been here for more than 20 years.

What does it do? Their presence causes more algae and weed growth and kills native clams.

Image Source: Randy Westbrooks, Invasive Species Prevention Specialist,


Eurasian Water Milfoil

What is it? Eurasian milfoil was accidentally introduced to North America from Europe. It reached Midwestern states between the 1950s and 1980s, mostly hitching a ride on boats.

What does it do? It's notorious for its ability to choke water resources.

Image Source: Barry Rice,,

Pondweed.jpgCurly-Leaf Pondweed

What is it? Curly-leaf was first noted in Minnesota about 1910. It probably was accidentally introduced when common carp were intentionally brought to Minnesota.

What does it do? Curly-leaf generally grows in 3-10 feet of water. Curly-leaf tolerates low water clarity and will readily invade disturbed areas.

Image Source: Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, 

Loosestrife.jpgPurple Loosestrife

What is it? Loosestrife was introduced in the 1800s. It was distributed as an ornamental and is now found in 40 states.

What does it do? Loosestrive invades marshes and lakeshores, replacing cattails and other wetland plants.

Image Source: John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,




Don Hickman
Vice President for Community and Economic Development | (320) 632-9255

Aquatic Invaders Summit

The Jan. 20-21 event was attended by nearly 400 Minnesota local units of government and their partners. Learn more about the summit and review the event materials.

Quick Links

AIS Research Center
DNR AIS Program
AIS Migration Map
Zebra Mussels (video)
Minnesota AIS Aid Program

DNR News

July 30th
Boaters and anglers are encouraged to “Think Zero” this weekend: Zero spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and zero violations. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources holds Think Zero weekend annually to raise awareness of efforts t…
July 28th
Reports of good white-tailed fawn numbers are coming in from around Minnesota as a milder winter and a conservative approach to the 2014 hunting season are already starting to show results.  Mid-summer reports from wildlife managers around the state …
July 28th
Licenses on sale Aug. 1 Hunters can expect another conservative deer season in 2015 as management continues to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.  “The 2015 deer hunting regulation…