How would you like to go on a trek to track down lake invaders?
Douglas County is one of several sites in the state where people will be trained how to identify starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species before searching for them in area lakes.
"Starry Trek" — the search for starry stonewort — is on Saturday, Aug. 17 and volunteers are needed.
“We’re excited to be partnering with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center for this event,” said Justin Swart, environmental planning technician with Douglas County Land and Resource Management.
“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 by actively engaging people with early detection efforts.”
Starry stonewort is one of Minnesota’s newest aquatic invasive species, having first been found in 2015 at Lake Koronis. It has since spread to 14 Minnesota lakes.
Early detection is critical for control, says the Department of Natural Resources.
“The information we gain at this event helps researchers and managers understand its current distribution and potentially take action if new infestations are found,” said Megan Weber, extension educator with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
No experience or equipment is necessary to participate in Starry Trek, with morning training on monitoring protocols and identification of starry stonewort provided. Volunteers will then be sent to nearby public water accesses to check for starry stonewort, before returning to the training site to report their findings. A light lunch and refreshments will also be served.
Volunteers are urged to register at www.starrytrek.org. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.