DETROIT LAKES — Zebra mussels, starry milkweed, flowering rush… These and other aquatic invasive species have been slowly infiltrating northern Minnesota lakes since the 1800s, but infestation rates are on the rise .
It is precisely for this reason that the University of Minnesota established its Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) in 2012.
According to information on its website, the center “has become a respected partner and national leader in the fight against aquatic invasive species.” It is “dedicated to combating the spread and impact of aquatic invasive species on Minnesota’s beloved lakes and rivers.”
Four years ago, in 2018, MAISRC experts came to Detroit Lakes to update area lake associations and other water quality-focused organizations on all of their latest research findings. The event was so well attended and received that they keep coming back.
“We were going to have (a similar event) in 2020, but then everything was closed (due to COVID-19),” said Brenda Moses, senior coordinator for the Pelican River Watershed District office in Detroit Lakes, who is co- hosting the event with the Coalitions of Lake Associations (COLAs) of Becker, Otter Tail and Hubbard Counties, and the Becker Soil and Water Conservation District.
It took a few years to get to the point where all the partners involved were ready to come together again in a large group, she noted, adding, “Last time around 125 people came,” and they hope a similar contribution.
The 2022 Aquatic Invasive Species Research Update is scheduled for Thursday, June 9 on the Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) campus 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,” Moïse said, as there will be lunch served to attendees.
One of the biggest concerns of local lake associations is the aquatic invasive species known as Milk-vetch. Although it hasn’t appeared in Becker County yet, Moses noted, it was found close enough for alarm bells to start ringing.
“We are concerned that if the starry stonewort enters (the lakes in the region), it will spread like crazy,” she added. “No one has yet found a good solution to handle this one, at all.”
Zebra mussels are another major problem that has happened to some local lakes before, Moses said; the June 9 event will include updates on research on all of these species, as well as others that may become of concern.
“We’ll also talk about some of the successes,” she added, such as the bloom rush, which was a major problem on Lake Detroit in 2010. While the invasive plant has all but disappeared from the local water body , it’s because of ongoing management efforts, Moses said.
What: Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Update
When: Thursday, June 9, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Or: M State, Detroit Lakes Campus
How: Pre-registration is required. Register online at prwd.org (a QR code can be scanned) or call 218-846-0436.