With the major chemical spill caused by the EPA in the Colorado River, it’s hard to imagine that there could be anything more threatening to the environment. However now there have been confirmed cases of the plant known as starry stonewort, which if left to its own devices has the potential to cause widespread ecological harm. Experts in Minnesota have verified that the dangerous species of plant has been found in lakes, and warn about the potential for the unwelcome species to spread to other bodies of water.
CAN SOMETHING CALLED STARRY STONEWORT REALLY BE THAT BAD?
Starry Stonewort has been known to come into an area with a large body of water and kill all other native plant species. The plants are characteristically invasive and threatening to all under water plant species. According to a press release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources the plant is inherently very dangerous to eco-system stability, “Starry stonewort are grass-like algae that may produce dense mats, which could interfere with use of the lake. The invasive plant may also choke out native plants and possibly alter habitat[s] for young fish.”
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE PLANTS ARE ALLOWED TO SPREAD TO OTHER BODIES OF WATER?
If careful consideration is not taken the plants could easily spread to larger bodies of water, or go as far as to cross state lines. Starry Stonewort has been around for a long time in certain places, but this is the first confirmed case of the plants in Minnesota, and has already spread in large quantities there according to experts in Minnesota, “DNR staff investigated and found starry stonewort in 53 acres of Lake Koronis. The plant is widely distributed in high densities in the southeast bay near the public water access off Highway 55. It is also growing outside the bay, extending into the main basin, the northeast side of basin and into Mud Lake.” before local residents had a chance to report their unusual findings to authorities, the rapid spread of Starry Stonewort had already begun in their nearby lakes. Many fear that because of the alarming quantity of the plants already found in Minnesota removal may not be an option, and the best method to eliminate threats is through containment.
HOW DOES SOMETHING LIKE STARRY STONEWORT END UP WHERE IT SHOULND’T BE?
Starry Stonewort travels the same way that most invasive species get from place to place. It hitches a ride courtesy of humans or animals. Experts in Minnesota suggest that this is most likely how the Starry Stonewort ended up in their state, “The invasive species was likely spread by lake users who transported fragments of the plant from an infested body of water.” In response to the sudden invasion of starry stonewort the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asks that those using the lake please drain the water from before before and after transportation, dispose of bait in waste bins, and clean all plants and animals from boats before putting them in the water. With the surge of starry stonewort in Minnesota many fear for the future of the lakes, while experts work tirelessly to contain a problem that is already way out of hand.