BEMIDJI-The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have discovered two new cases of the invasive species starry stonewort in Beltrami County.
The species, a grass-like form of algae, was found in Upper Red Lake and Cass Lake, according to a press release. Additionally, the DNR has confirmed starry stonewort among heavy native growth in a northeast section of Cass Lake, near the Knutson Dam on the Leech Lake Reservation.
The DNR said it is working with property owners, local government and tribal officials to determine treatment options, as well as conducting further investigations to confirm the extent of the infestation in Cass Lake.
The third and fourth discoveries of the algae come after the DNR identified the second case earlier this month in Turtle Lake. The first case discovered in Minnesota was 185 miles south of Turtle Lake in Lake Koronis.
Starry stonewort, the DNR said, is an algae that can produce dense mats which can interfere with lake use. The algae may also choke out native plants. Typically, the species is spread by lake users who transport fragments of the plants from an infested body of water.
Because of the discovery, the DNR is reminding boaters of the following:
• 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.
"It is important that everyone who uses Minnesota lakes follows invasive species laws. Whether the lake they use is infested or not," said DNR Invasive Species Unit Supervisor Heidi Wolf in the release.