The grass-like algae produces “dense mats” that could interfere with recreational use of the lake, and can “choke out” native plants, alter the habitat for young fish, and impede the movement of aquatic life.
Starry stonewort is usually spread by boats, leading the DNR to remind boaters to clean their craft of all vegetation before moving from one lake to another body of water.
It was first confirmed in Wisconsin in 2014. The plants are characteristically invasive and threatening to all under water plant species.
There is now no course of action to remove the stonewort in place, but Minnesota officials hope they can keep the invasion confined to these two lakes before the algae spreads to the rest of the state. In Minnesota, experts have verified that this unsafe species has been proliferating in the lakes and have warned of the potential of this unwelcome species spreading to other water bodies in the region.
According to The Associated Press, the appearance of starry stonewort at Lake Koronis and Mud Lake is a first for the state of Minnesota.
The algae was discovered in the St. Lawrence River in 1978, and has since made its way to lakes across the northern U.S. The plant causes stiff competition for resources with other plants, and eliminates biodiversity in lakes by pushing out the native vegetation species. It can grow many feet long and it looks like big plants.
The DNR also said that it has surveyed 23 lakes in southeastern Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, for instance, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides state funding for removal, control, and monitoring of invasive aquatic species, and to encourage innovation in preventing their spread.
“It’s really hard to see this happening”, Karen Langmo, a member of the Koronis Lake Association, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.