Volunteers needed Aug. 21 to help search for invasive species in Lake Minnetonka

August 10, 2021

Leaders with the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District are inviting community members meet Saturday, Aug. 21, at Excelsior Commons, 135 Lake Street, for a day of searching for starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species.

The Starry Trek event is meant to be a fun and rewarding way to help protect Lake Minnetonka and other waters throughout the state for future generations.

Starry Trek is an annual event where members of the public first gather at training sites to learn how to identify starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species. The newly trained citizen scientists then branch out to local water accesses to search for signs of the invasive species. In 2020, 212 volunteers scoured 292 public water accesses on 238 waterbodies across the state.

Starry stonewort is an invasive algae that was first found in Lake Koronis in 2015 and has since spread to 14 Minnesota lakes. It is a difficult and costly species to manage once established and negatively impacts a lake’s ecology.

Participants will meet at the local training site in the morning and will be assigned sites to search upon arrival. All participants will need to return to the local training site to check in and turn in specimens and data sheets at the end of the day. No experience is necessary. Participants under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

The statewide event is hosted by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, which works to develop research-based solutions that can reduce the impacts of aquatic invasive species. To learn more, visit maisrc.umn.edu.

There are currently 28 local training sites committed around the state, including the one on Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to register by Sunday, Aug. 15, to ensure availability.

For more information and to register, visit tinyurl.com/3djkve3a.