MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The invasive star algae has been confirmed in Leech Lake in northern Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said a company that removed plants near Anderson’s Cove Resort in Steamboat Bay reported seeing the plant around the marina and under boats. An expert later confirmed that what they found was the invasive species.
While the stellate strophy may resemble native plants, it forms dense mats of vegetation in the water, taking resources from native plants and creating headaches for boaters and other lake enthusiasts.
During the summer months, the stellate strophée can be noticed by its white star-shaped bulbils. Anyone who sees the plant in other parts of Leech Lake is urged to contact MNR here.
Much of Leech Lake lies within the boundaries of the Leech Lake of Ojibwe Band. MNR says it is working with the band, local landowners and state officials to discuss management options going forward.
Although star stonewort has never been successfully removed from a lake in the United States, there are ways to manage the plant. Officials say public funds are available for immediate responses.
Star stonewort has now been confirmed in 18 lakes in Minnesota. Among them are Cass Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish, both located near Leech Lake.
MNR says the invasive plant is most likely spread when fragments of multiple sclerosis have not been properly cleaned from docks, boats and other watercraft.