Meta-analysis of treatment outcomes to advance starry stonewort management in Minnesota

This project will improve starry stonewort management by systematically evaluating efficacy of past starry stonewort treatments and translating findings into a readily usable form for stakeholders such as agency staff, lake associations, AIS management professionals, and policymakers. This will be accomplished by compiling and analyzing data from the first starry stonewort control efforts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana using meta-analysis and communicating findings through outreach and extension.

Researchers are collaborating with the Minnesota DNR and the Wisconsin DNR to compile data on starry stonewort treatment efforts. Pre- and post-treatment monitoring data are collected for permitted herbicide applications in each state, making these data available for analysis. Data are available for projects that employed chemical, physical, and combination treatments. Conducting a meta-analysis will allows researchers to integrate data from multiple treatments where efficacy was monitored, while accounting for differences in how treatments were monitored and other complicating factors.

Starry stonewort was first found in Minnesota in 2015 and is now known to occur in 13 waterbodies across the state. It can rapidly produce abundant biomass and tall, dense beds that interfere with recreation, reduce native plant diversity, and may have further ecological consequences. Adding to these concerns are the challenges associated with achieving lasting control of infestations. Despite numerous anecdotal reports on different algaecides/herbicides, there is currently only a single peer-reviewed study evaluating efficacy of starry stonewort control. What is sorely lacking is a rigorous, quantitative assessment of the efficacy of alternative treatment strategies. This project will accomplish that.

Project manager: Dan Larkin

Funded by: State of Minnesota

Project start date: 2019

Estimated project end date: 2020