Workshop to address local invasive species

Experts March 9 to include ‘Lake Detective’ and St. Croix task force chair


Asian carp are hauled out of the Mississippi River. (Photo submitted)
Asian carp are hauled out of the Mississippi River. (Photo submitted)

Alien invaders such as curly leaf pondweed, milfoil, zebra mussels, Asian carp and other non-native, aquatic plants and animals have invaded several area lakes, as well as portions of the St. Croix River. They threaten to harm native fish, waterfowl and wildlife, in addition to creating headaches for swimmers, boaters and lake-lovers.

In response to this threat, the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District, Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District and Chisago County will join forces to host a free workshop on aquatic invasive species from 9-11 a.m. this Saturday, March 9, at the Scandia Community Center.

Guest speakers Steve McComas and Byron Karns will discuss common invasive plant and animal species found in area lakes and the St. Croix River, in addition to highlighting new and emerging threats. Attendees will learn how to identify these aquatic invasives, get the latest updates on where they’ve been found, and find out what’s being done on a local and statewide level to keep them at bay.

McComas, aquatic scientist and owner of Blue Water Science, appears on the radio as the Lake Detective on Joe Soucheray’s 1500 AM show and writes a Lake Detective newspaper column for Outdoor News. He will discuss management options for aquatic invasive plants and common carp.

Karns, of the National Park Service, is currently the chair of the St. Croix Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Task Force. He is a mussel expert and conducts field monitoring and inventories of invasive and native species on the St. Croix Riverway. He will talk about zebra mussels and the threat of Asian carp.

The Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District encompasses roughly 47 square miles in northern Washington County and southern Chisago County that ultimately drains to the St. Croix River via the Sunrise River. The Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District is home to 31 lakes, three designated trout streams, hundreds of acres of wetlands and more than 17 miles of St. Croix River shoreline. Both districts oversee a variety of projects and programs to assess and improve the health of local water resources.

Register for the workshop at The Scandia Community Center is located at 14727 209th St. N.