Starry Trek: a statewide search for starry stonewort
Starry Trek is a statewide event focused on searching for one of Minnesota's newest aquatic invasive species, starry stonewort (and other invaders). Starry stonewort is an invasive algae that was first found in Lake Koronis in 2015 and has since spread to 14 Minnesota lakes (learn more about starry stonewort and our research here). This event is an opportunity for you and to team up with us and hundreds of your fellow Minnesotans to better understand its distribution in Minnesota.
What do participants do during Starry Trek?
You will meet at a local training site hosted by one of our local partners where you will receive a brief training on how to identify starry stonewort and other target aquatic invasive species and how to follow the search protocols. Groups are then sent out to local lakes to follow the protocols and bring back any suspicious organisms. Starry Trek is a free event and no experience or special equipment is required. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
How does participating in Starry Trek make a difference?
In both 2017 and 2018, Starry Trek volunteers discovered new populations of starry stonewort. Follow-up surveys by Minnesota DNR specialists confirmed these new findings in Wolf Lake (Hubbard County, 2018) and Grand Lake (Stearns County, 2017). As a result of the Grand Lake discovery the local lake association and MN DNR teamed up in a rapid response plan to remove the small patch of starry stonewort. Other notable finds by Starry Trek participants include the discovery of a new population of Eurasian watermilfoil in Winona County (2017) and a new zebra mussel population in Dakota County (2018). Over 200 Minnesotans have joined in this effort and searched over 200 public water accesses each year since our inaugural event in 2017.
Where can I sign up?
Starry Trek will be held again in 2019 on Saturday, August 17. Local training sites will be located across the state will be announced when registration opens in summer of 2019. We hope you will join us on August 17! When available, a link to registration will be posted on this page.
Who organizes the event?
Starry Trek is organized by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Funding for Starry Trek is provided in part by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Starry Trek is held in coordination with AIS Snapshot Day, an aquatic invasive species search event held in Wisconsin on the same day hosted by the River Alliance of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Extension, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Thanks to our 2018 local partners who hosted training sites:
- AIS Detectors Volunteers
- Becker SWCD
- Beltrami County ESD
- Big Stone 4-H AIS Team
- Big Stone County
- Carver County
- Chisago County
- Coon Creek Watershed District
- Cross Lake Association of Pine County
- Crow River Organization of Water
- Dakota County
- Douglas County Land and Resource Management
- Fortin Consulting
- Hubbard County COLA
- Itasca County SWCD AIS Program
- Kandiyohi County
- Lake County SWCD
- Lake Minnetonka Association
- Lake of the Woods SWCD
- Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
- Morrison County Land Services
- Pleasant Lake Homeowners Association
- Ramsey Conservation District
- Sherburne SWCD
- St. Croix River Association
- Stearns County COLA
- Todd SWCD
- Winona County SWCD
- Wright SWCD