Over 206 volunteers searched a total of 281 accesses on 222 water bodies across Minnesota on Saturday, August 21, 2021 to participate in Starry Trek.  Starry Trek is a statewide search for starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species at public water accesses.  The state-wide effort is organized by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) and University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

In Lake of the Woods County, the Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) coordinated the event, held at Zippel Bay State Park and 12 volunteers participated.  Volunteers included members from the  local Girl Scout Troop 2210 , Cub Scout Troop 62, Boy Scout Troop 62, and Boy Scout Troop 151.  The event focused on searching for the following species: Starry stonewort, Eurasian watermilfoil, Curly-leaf pondweed and Zebra mussels.

After being trained to identify these invasive species and learning decontamination techniques, volunteers fanned out and checked six public water accesses across the county.  No new aquatic invasive species were found in lakes and rivers searched in Lake of the Woods County.  Abundant native plant species were found.  In fact, statewide, no new starry stonewort discoveries were found during Starry Trek this year.

Lake of the Woods SWCD would like to thank all volunteers who came out to help check our public water accesses. Protecting our waters for future generations is 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.  There are approximately 8% of Minnesota’s 11,000 lakes that are on the infested waters list.  It is important to detect infestations early to control the spread.  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 more information, contact: Mike Hirst, Lake of the Woods SWCD  Mike.hirst@mn.nacdnet.net    218-634-1842 ext. #4