ST. PAUL -- Volunteers are needed statewide on Saturday, Aug. 17 to participate in a search for starry stonewort, one of Minnesota’s newly recognized aquatic invasive species.

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center has been working to find research-based solutions to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Local sites will be used to train volunteers on how to identify starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species in area lakes. Starry stonewort is an algae that was first found in Minnesota at Lake Koronis in 2015.

According to Beltrami County Environmental Services, the invasive species has spread to 14 different Minnesota lakes, with five of those lakes in Beltrami County. The lakes include Big Turtle, Moose, Wolf, Upper Red and Cass.

“This event is a terrific way for people to get outdoors, get educated about aquatic invasive species, and help protect their area lakes,” Megan Weber, Extension Educator with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, said in a release. “The information we gain at this event helps researchers and managers understand its current distribution and potentially take action if new infestations are found.”

There will be 27 training sites located around the state, including one at the Beltrami County watercraft decontamination site. No experience or equipment is necessary from volunteers. The event is free to participants but registration for the event is requested. Children under the age of 18 that want to come to the event must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center for this event,” Bruce Anspach, AIS Lake Technician, Beltrami County Environmental Services, said in the release. “Protecting our lakes for future generations is really important to us all, and we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS.”

Volunteers will report their findings at the end of the day at their local sites. To find a list of all sites statewide visit www.StarryTrek.org.