PAYNESVILLE, Minn. — The association at Lake Koronis is taking an aggressive approach to get rid of starry stonewort, an invasive species that has wrapped around boat propellers and kept some people from swimming.

The starry stonewort was confirmed on Lake Koronis last summer and expanded to 250 acres. The Department of Natural Resources decided to manage the invasive species, not eradicate it.

But the Koronis Lake Association is taking action — spending $50,000 this summer on a three-part treatment. If it works, the association would roll out the rest of its $828,600 plan to treat more of the lake, and the treatment could be used on other Minnesota lakes, too.

The St. Cloud Times reported (http://on.sctimes.com/2bN1EmH ) that the lake association applied for grants to fund the project. The plan started with a machine that harvested the weeds. Scuba divers were then scheduled to handpick the starry stonewort that the machine missed. Then, chemicals will be used to treat regrowth.

The mechanical harvester was in use last week, removing more than 140,000 pounds of the invasive species from a 6-acre test site.

Homeowner Michael Mackedanz hopes it works, as testing has indicated the starry stonewort might be expanding in the lake.

“There’s a problem there, and it’s just not the people that live on the lake — it’s not just their problem. It’s everybody’s problem. I would say that 50 percent of the people or more that use the lake don’t actually live on the lake,” he said. “And if it comes to the point where we can’t boat, we can’t do recreational things out on the lake, we’re all going to suffer.”

This month, the DNR confirmed starry stonewort infestations in three more Minnesota lakes: 185 miles north of Lake Koronis in Turtle Lake near Bemidji, and in Beltrami County’s Upper Red and Cass Lakes.

In all cases, the invasive species was discovered near public accesses.


Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com