Starry Trek 2017: Volunteers needed for citizen science event Aug. 5

(Submitted photo)
Starry stonewort

Volunteers from across Minnesota are needed on Saturday, Aug. 5, to participate in a statewide search for starry stonewort, Minnesota’s newest aquatic invasive species.

Hundreds of volunteers will gather at rendezvous sites statewide to learn how to identify starry stonewort and search for it in area lakes.

Starry stonewort is an invasive algae that was first found in Lake Koronis in 2015 and has since spread to nine Minnesota lakes. Early detection of this species is critical for control.

“This event is a terrific way for local community members to get outdoors, learn more about starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species, and truly make a difference in the health of their area lakes,” said Megan Weber, Extension Educator with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. “The information we gain at this event will help researchers and managers understand its current distribution and potentially take action if new infestations are found.”

No experience or equipment is necessary to participate in Starry Trek. Expert training on monitoring protocols and starry stonewort identification will be provided on-site. This event is free, but registration is requested. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

There will be over a dozen rendezvous sites around the state, including in Tonka Bay, at Excelsior Commons. Volunteers will meet at their local rendezvous site for training, then be sent to nearby lakes to check for starry stonewort. At the end of the day, they’ll return to the rendezvous site to report their findings.

For a full list of the sites and other FAQs, visit StarryTrek.org.

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center works across the state to develop research-based solutions that can reduce the impacts of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota by preventing spread, controlling populations, and managing ecosystems; and to advance knowledge to inspire action by others. A portion of the funding for this program is provided by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Learn more at www.maisrc.umn.edu.

For more information, contact Weber at 763-767-3874 or email [email protected]