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Learn the latest on aquatic invasives: State experts to hold free seminar in Detroit Lakes

Experts from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota are coming to Detroit Lakes on Thursday, June 9 for an all-day seminar to update local residents on the latest AIS research. The event, which will be held inside the M State conference center, is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is requested for planning purposes.

Starry Stonewort.png
Starry stonewort thriving in a shallow lake. Though this form of aquatic invasive species has not yet arrived in Becker County lakes, it has been found in close enough proximity to worry local organizations concerned with water quality.
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
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DETROIT LAKES — Zebra mussels, starry stonewort, flowering rush... These and other aquatic invasive species have been slowly infiltrating their way into northern Minnesota lakes since the 1800s, but the rate of infestation is on the rise.

It was for just this reason that the University of Minnesota created its Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) in 2012.

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Zebra mussels first began showing up in area lakes more than a decade ago, and continue to be a problem today.
Contributed / Pelican River Watershed District

According to information available on its website, the center "has grown into a respected partner and national leader in the fight against aquatic invasive species." It is "dedicated to fighting the spread and impact of aquatic invasive species on Minnesota’s beloved lakes and rivers."

Four years ago, in 2018, experts from the MAISRC came to Detroit Lakes to update area lake associations and other water quality-focused organizations on all their latest research findings. The event was so well attended, and received, that they're coming back.

"We were going to have (a similar event) in 2020, but then everything was shut down (due to COVID-19)," said Brenda Moses, senior office coordinator with the Pelican River Watershed District in Detroit Lakes, which is co-hosting the event along with the Coalitions of Lake Associations (COLAs) from Becker, Otter Tail and Hubbard counties, and the Becker Soil and Water Conservation District.

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Flowering rush's pretty looks are deceiving. The invasive plant poses a serious threat to Minnesota's waters.
Detroit Lakes Tribune file photo

It's taken a couple of years to get to the point where all of the partners involved were ready to meet in a big group again, she noted, adding, "Last time, we had about 125 people come," and they're hoping for a similar turnout.

The 2022 Aquatic Invasive Species Research Update is set for Thursday, June 9 on the campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) in Detroit Lakes, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration by June 3 is requested, "for planning purposes," said Moses, as there will be a lunch served to participants.

One of the biggest concerns for local lake associations is the aquatic invasive known as starry stonewort. Though it hasn't shown up in Becker County yet, Moses noted, it's been found in close enough proximity that alarm bells are beginning to ring.

"We're concerned that if starry stonewort comes in (to area lakes), it'll spread like crazy," she added. "Nobody has found a good solution for managing this one yet, at all."

Zebra mussels are another major problem that's already arrived in some local lakes, Moses said; the June 9 event will include research updates on all of these species, along with some others that could become a concern.

"We'll also be talking about some of the success stories," she added — such as flowering rush, which was a major problem on Detroit Lake back in 2010. While the invasive plant has all but disappeared from the local water body, it's due to ongoing management efforts, Moses said.

If you go

What: Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Update
When: Thursday, June 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: M State, Detroit Lakes campus
How: Pre-registration is requested. Sign up online at prwd.org (a QR code is available for scanning) or call 218-846-0436.

Related Topics: DETROIT LAKESBECKER COUNTYINVASIVE SPECIESPELICAN RIVER WATERSHED DISTRICT
A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com.
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