Lakeland Currents: Aquatic Invasive Species
It’s now summertime here in the northwoods, which means droves of tourists and residents alike have been heading to area lakes to fish and recreate out on the water. But, these days, a trip to the lake frequently includes a visit with a local watercraft inspector, someone tasked with keeping an eye out for unwanted hitchhikers that could further spread aquatic invasive species throughout Minnesota’s waterways.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, about 5 percent of Minnesota’s lakes are listed as infested with invasive species — and that number is growing. In August 2016, for example, starry stonewort was found at the Big Turtle Lake boat access in Beltrami County. In June, the DNR reported the first new confirmation of zebra mussels in a Minnesota lake in 2017 when an adult zebra mussel was found in Cedar Lake in Wright County.
But what exactly does it mean when aquatic invasive species are found? And is there anything that can be done to eradicate them? To answer these questions and many more, we welcome to the program Nicole Kovar, an invasive species specialist with the Minnesota DNR.