Tag: starry stonewort

MN COLA announces speakers for Annual Meeting

MN COLA June 2024 Annual Meeting speakers image

What do Kathryn Hoffman (left), Dr. John Rogers (right), Jeff Forester (top), and Hilarie Sorenson (bottom) all have in common?

They are all speaking about water at the MN COLA Annual Meeting on June 18 from 9 am – 11 am CT. The meeting is guaranteed to be interesting and informative, and we hope you will attend.

Register here for the Zoom meeting.

Meeting topics and speakers:

  • Election of Directors for the MN COLA Board. Director terms are 3 years and we have several seats to fill. Note: if you have interest in joining the MN COLA Board, please contact Kevin Farum to register your interest.
  • Kathryn Hoffman, CEO of the non-profit Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), will brief us on the efforts they have underway to protect Minnesota’s public waters. MCEA’s lawyers and scientists are directly involved with environmental legislation in St. Paul and in every major legal fight to protect our water. Kathryn last joined us in December 2020 and she was very well received.
  • Jeff Forester from MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates will provide us with an update on the short 2024 Minnesota Legislative Session that ends on May 20.
  • Hilarie Sorenson is the newly appointed Water Resources Extension Educator for MN Sea Grant. She is charged with helping to address complex water quality issues through resources and programs. We offered her the opportunity to explain her new role and also to hear from you, our caring lake and river volunteers about your priorities and needs. So besides getting to know Hilarie, you can help her help us with a few polling questions during her presentation.
  • Dr. John Rodgers from Clemson University will talk to us about hydrilla, one of the most concerning AIS that has not yet reached Minnesota. He will follow the infestation spread from Florida up the east coast and now in Michigan, the impact on lakes, and what to expect. Many of you became familiar with Dr. Rodgers when starry stonewort was found in Minnesota in 2015. We are so pleased that he will spend some time with MN COLA.

As always, everyone welcome to attend, so feel free to forward this meeting information.

Inland waters need the forest!

MN COLA Home Page hero image - reduced size

MN COLA strongly believes in the need for keeping and reclaiming natural shorelines. This is especially important with the trend of turning part-time cabins into full-time homes. We have many resources on our website to make that case, but it is up to us, as shore owners to understand the impacts of making changes at the shoreline and to retain and/or reclaim the elements that favorably affect water quality.

Michigan Lakes and Streams Association logo

With the permission of Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, we are pleased to provide a link to a terrific article that highlights the important connection between forests and lakes for strong water quality, shoreline stabilization, resistance to AIS, and a strong fishery.

The science supports keeping the forest and lakes connected!

AIS Infestations rising in 2023

Chart of AIS growth in MN 1995-2023-starry stonewort, zebra mussel, and EWM

Death by a thousand cuts! We can become immune to the repeated announcements of new lakes becoming infested with AIS, but we shouldn’t. The season for reporting AIS infestations is not over and we should expect the 2023 numbers will grow.

The 3 species graphed above threaten the recreational value of our public waters, and they keep growing, increasing the annual costs to keep the species under control and the lakes usable.

So far in 2023, we have 6 new infestations of starry stonewort: up from 22 since 2015. That’s a 27% increase this year alone. A troubling growth rate for a very troubling species that is still early in its infestation life cycle.

Zebra mussel infestations year to date are up 17 on a base of 582. If that low double-digit increase holds, it will have been a good year. Be aware that more infestations typically get identified as we pull out boats, docks, and lifts.

Eurasian watermilfoil only racked up 2 new infestations so far, so perhaps it’s trending down. And that’s good.

While waterbody counts may be slowing, you should be aware that most large lakes in Minnesota have 1 or more AIS, and the percentage of Minnesota’s surface water infested with AIS is very high.

Free to a good home: Specialized lake netting

Netting that was used for on Lake Koronis as part of a pilot project to control starry stonewort is available for free to a good home.

Each net is 300’ long, 6’ deep, and plastic coated. 4 nets are available: 2 nets have 3/8” holes, 2 nets have 3/16” holes. The nets have floats on the top and weights on the bottom. The nets were decontaminated and have been in storage since 2017. Other details are available.

Contact Kevin@Farnum.info if your lake association can use any of these nets for any purpose.

Starry stonewort infestation prevented by watercraft inspector

Vigilant DNR watercraft inspectors prevented the introduction of starry stonewort to Lake Superior, which is currently not known to be infested with the harmful invasive species.

A DNR watercraft inspector saw what appeared to be grass in the motor intake of a boat whose owner approached the Agate Bay public water access to Lake Superior in Lake County. Upon closer examination, the inspector noticed the small star-shaped bulbils that indicate starry stonewort. The boat owner said the boat had been on Bowen Lake in Cass County the previous weekend. Starry stonewort was confirmed on Bowen Lake in August. The inspector used the decontamination station on site to ensure the invasive species was removed before the boat entered Lake Superior.

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