Aug 8, 2019 | By: Malaak Khattab

Starry Stonewort Found In Lake Beltrami

A small population of invasive algae starry stonewort has been found in Lake Beltrami, near Bemidji according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

DNR divers confirmed starry stonewort in a three-foot area, two smaller areas, and separate strands tightly intermingled with a high diversity and abundance of native chara and aquatic plants.

A volunteer found a strand of starry stonewort near the public access in Lake Beltrami, last August during the University of Minnesota Extension’s annual “Starry Trek” event. According to the DNR, divers will be hand-pulling starry stonewort at intervals throughout the rest of the summer as a way to manage the biomass. Boat inspections have also been expanded and follow-up surveys will be conducted to watch for the invasive algae in other parts of the lake.

The invasive algae has never been removed from any U.S. lake, but treatment or careful removal can help reduce the risk of spreading and can also reduce the Starry stonewort’s adverse impact on water-related recreation, according to the DNR. Starry stonewort was first confirmed in Minnesota in 2015. It has now been confirmed in 15 of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes.

The DNR reminds boaters and anglers to follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Information on how to identify starry stonewort can be found on the DNR’s website. If people think they’ve found starry stonewort, they should report it to the DNR.

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