From the Minnesota DNR:
What problems do invasive species cause?
A number of invasive plants and animal species have been severe world-wide agents of habitat alteration and degradation, and competition for native species. They are the major cause of biological diversity loss throughout the world, and are considered "biological pollutants." Their populations can often rapidly increase allowing them to disrupt native plant communities and crowd out native species. By changing habitat, they can also affect species beyond those they may directly displace. They can cause problems for those who use natural resources, whether for recreational use of land or waters or industrial use of public waters. Once established, invasive species rarely can be eliminated.
How do invasive species move from their natural range to new, distant places?
There are many pathways of introduction that move species from their natural range to new, distant places. Most introductions are the result of human activities. Some introductions, such as common carp, buckthorn, and purple loosestrife, were intentional and have caused unexpected damage. Many exotic introductions are unintentional. Species are carried on barges, boats and trailers, animals, vehicles, commercial goods, packing materials, produce, footwear or clothing, and in ballast water of ships.
Ships take on ballast water in other countries for stability during the ocean crossing. This water is pumped out when the ships pick up their loads in Great Lakes ports. Many of the species, such as zebra mussel, ruffe, and spiny water flea arrived in the Great Lakes this way. But they are now being spread throughout the continent's interior in and on boats and through other recreational activities.
Prohibited invasive species
Certain invasive species that can threaten natural resources and their use have been designated as prohibited invasive species in Minnesota. It is unlawful (a misdemeanor) to possess, import, purchase, transport, or introduce these species except under a permit for disposal, control, research, or education. The prohibited invasive species in Minnesota include the following and any hybrids, cultivars, or varieties of the species listed below:
* Aquatic Plants
African oxygen weed (Lagarosiphon major)
aquarium watermoss or giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta)
Australian stone crop (Crassula helmsii)
brittle naiad (Najas minor)
curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)*
Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)*
European frog-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae)
flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus)*
hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)
Indian swampweed (Hygrophila polysperma)
purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, Lythrum virgatum, or any variety, hybrid, or cultivar thereof)*
water aloe or water soldiers (Stratiotes aloides)
water chestnut (Trapa natans)
the aquatic plants listed in Code of Federal Regulations, title 7, section 360.200, are also designated as prohibited invasive species except for Chinese water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica)