Earlier this month the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources discovered the invasive species, Starry Stonewort on Turtle Lake near Bemidji. The DNR has now temporarily closed access onto Turtle Lake for the aggressive treatment of a half acre of starry stonewort.

Starry stonewort are grass-like algae that can produce dense mats, which could interfere with use of the lake and choke out native plant species.

A curtain has been installed at the public water access on Turtle Lake, to confine the affected area for treatment. Contractors will be using suction to vacuum up the vegetation and a layer of muddy substrate where fragments may be present.

Algae fragments and the tiny star-shaped bulbils for which the pant is named can cause new growth. After the removal of the vegetation and substrate, a copper-based herbicide will be applied to the area in an effort to kill any vegetation or bulbils that may be left.

"The best case scenario is that starry stonewort will be effectively removed from the lake," said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. "To date, starry stonewort has not been 'eradicated' from an infested lake anywhere in the United States."

On Turtle Lake and Lake Koronis, where another aggressive treatment is taking place. Experts are hoping this approach can be more effective than those previously undertaken elsewhere.

Starry stonewort and other invasive species are often spread by lake users who transport the species from an infested body of water. Boaters and anglers are reminded to follow Minnesota laws prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

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