In August, the AIS Detectors Program team hosted their fifth Starry Trek across Minnesota, and it was once again a huge success for early detection and monitoring efforts. On Saturday, August 21st, 206 volunteers gathered at rendezvous sites throughout the state and searched a total of 281 public accesses on 222 water bodies for starry stonewort and other AIS.
There were no new discoveries of starry stonewort during Starry Trek this year, which is great news! Starry Trek volunteers have found five new populations of starry stonewort during previous years’ events. Volunteers did manage to uncover a few other aquatic invasive species during the event. In Dakota County, volunteers found a new population of Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) in Thompson Lake. In Sherburne County, volunteers found live freshwater golden clam (Corbicua fluminea) in another inland Minnesota Lake, Big Lake. While dead, empty shells had previously been found in Big Lake. This is the first time we’ve been able to document a living clam in that water body (and the 2nd documented occurrence of living Corbicula in an inland Minnesota lake). Last year, the first case of live Corbicula in an inland Minnesota lake was discovered by a young participant that has led to a MAISRC rapid response project. Starry Trek volunteers also reported numerous new observations of Chinese and banded mystery snails, further improving our knowledge of the distributions of these species.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and local site coordinators who made Starry Trek possible! Starry Trek will return in 2022, so mark your calendars for star date Saturday, August 20th and you too can boldly go where no one has gone before (ok, maybe not, but you'll still have lots of fun monitoring)!