Dredging Begins at Turtle Lake
Workers have started the second phase of the Starry Stonewort removal process on Turtle Lake. The algae was discovered at the beginning of the month, but a containment curtain wasn’t implemented until mid-August.
“When the species gets in, it starts colonizing and creates some really dense masses which makes it difficult for recreation. Difficult for fish to swim through and it can push out the native plants which we don’t want to have happen,” said Mike Bolinski, a watercraft inspections supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources.
Contractors are using equipment to suck up the water and plant mater through a hose connected to a big, white bag. When the water drains through it, the plant matter will remained trapped inside to be disposed of later.
“We’re hopeful that it gets most of it but only time will tell if it will all be removed,” Bolinski added.
According to the DNR, Starry Stonewort has not been successfully completely removed in any other bodies of water. The algae species was first found in Minnesota in August 2015, when it was discovered in Lake Koronis.
To prevent the spread, boats should use extra precaution.
“Best thing anyone can do is just take extra time before you launch your boat or after you bring your boat out when you leave the access,” Bolinski said. “Go through your trailer, get underneath there if you can. Find any plant fragments that you can and remove them. If you can let your boat dry for three days that’s great.”
The next step will be to add a copper based herbicide to the affected area, which will help kill any remaining plant matter. It will not pose a safety concern for people on the water.
The Minnesota DNR provides free boat decontaminations at 62 sites around the state. You can find the nearest location on the DNR’s website.