Over 225 volunteers across the state turned out on Saturday, August 18 to participate in Starry Trek, a statewide search for starry stonewort that was organized by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) and University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Here in Lake and St. Louis Counties, 2 volunteers participated. After being trained to identify starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species, volunteers fanned out and checked 2 lakes in the Ely area.
After volunteers searched over 225 public accesses on 187 water bodies statewide, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the invasive algae starry stonewort in Wolf Lake in Hubbard County. This is the third new confirmation of starry stonewort in a Minnesota lake in 2018. Volunteers also discovered a new zebra mussel infestation in Lake Isabelle in Dakota County. No new aquatic invasive species were found in lakes and rivers searched in Lake County.
The lakes that were searched had been prioritized as potentially high-risk for a starry stonewort infestation based on a model created by MAISRC researchers along with local use information from Starry Trek local coordinators.
“These discoveries by volunteers participating in Starry Trek highlight the importance of reports from members of the general public,” said Megan Weber, MAISRC Extension Educator. “We need as many eyes on the water as possible to help identify new invasions as early and provide the best opportunities for response.”
Starry stonewort is an invasive algae that was first found in Lake Koronis in 2015 and has since been found in 14 Minnesota lakes, including Wolf Lake. Research into control options is ongoing at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
Starry stonewort can grow tall and dense, forming mats on the surface that interfere with recreation and potentially displacing native plant species.
“We can’t thank the local coordinators and all the volunteers across the state who make this event possible enough,” added Weber. “They are truly making a difference in the health of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.”
“On behalf of Lake County, I’d like to thank all of the volunteers who came out to help check our lakes, and our AIS Sentries and Detectors who keep an eye on our lakes and rivers throughout the season” said Sonja Smerud, AIS Coordinator, Lake County SWCD. “Protecting our lakes for future generations is really important to us all, and we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS.”
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center works across the state to develop research-based solutions that can reduce the impacts of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota by preventing spread, controlling populations, and managing ecosystems; and to advance knowledge to inspire action by others. A portion of the funding for this program is provided by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Learn more at www.maisrc.umn.edu.
For statewide information, contact:
Megan Weber, Extension Educator
Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center
For local information, contact:
For local information, contact:
North St. Louis SWCD