Local News

Finding starry stonewort: Volunteers needed to look for aggressive lake algae


Alexandria, MN — Volunteers are needed in Douglas County to help determine if an aggressive algae has made its way into Douglas County lakes. On Saturday, August 20, volunteers will meet to train and search for starry stonewort which spreads easily and grows into dense mats at and below a lake’s surface.
“This is not something you want in your lake,” says Justin Swart, Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Coordinator for Land and Resource Management in Douglas County. “We need people for these early detection efforts to help protect our area lakes.”
Starry stonewort is an invasive algae that was first found in Minnesota at Lake Koronis in 2015 and has since spread to sixteen Minnesota lakes. Volunteers have been the ones to find starry stonewort in four of those lakes which shows how valuable this half-day event is.
No experience or equipment is necessary to participate in Starry Trek. Participants in Douglas County will meet at Public Works, 526 Willow Drive in Alexandria at 8:30 a.m. Training on starry stonewort identification will be provided on-site. The day will conclude about noon. This event is free, but everyone must register in advance. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. To register and view all safety measures, visit https://maisrc.umn.edu/starrytrek
“We’re once again proud to be partnering with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center for this event,” says Swart. “Protecting our lakes is really important and the technique used to look for starry stonewort can also help identify other aquatic invasive species like Eurasian watermilfoil.”