Invasive Weed Species in Minnesota have become a huge issue for our 10,000 lakes. More and more individuals are trying to stop and prevent their presence in our lakes. This is because as invasive species develop a superior existence within the lakes, there are less resources and space for native weeds and animals – which are essential to keep the ecosystem balanced. There are many methods that one can use to try and stop these species from spreading and, ultimately, taking over lakes. But, before you can address how to get rid of them, you need to understand them. This blog post will help inform you of a few different types of invasive species in Minnesota.
Known as a common nuisance, Eurasian Watermilfoil can be found in numerous lakes across the state. To know how to distinguish it from other plants, Eurasian Watermilfoil grows toward the surface of the water and looks like a strands of tangled stems. It also appears to look like a mat that is laying on the top of the water.
This plant populates quickly because if a part falls off of the stem, it can settle and grow new roots. That is why it has become a major problem for many lakes. Once discovered, it repopulates rapidly.
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Curly-leaf Pondweed is the chameleon of the invasive species in Minnesota. It appears to be reddish-brown in the water, but once you pull it out, you can see that it is actually green. The leaves of this plant are also what makes it stand out from other lake weeds. They are medium length and have sharp, serrated edges. Rooted in the ground, this plant can grow in up to 15 feet of water.
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Brittle Naiad has a more “bushy” appearance with its pointed leaves clumped together at the top of the stem. It is a submerged plant that posses a greenish color.
There are currently six different lakes that posses this invasive species. It is a danger to Minnesota lakes because it steals food and lake bottom from the native plants. Therefore, the indigenous plants will not be able to survive and the lakes’ ecosystems will not be stable.
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Both forms of algae, Starry Stonewort reflects similar characteristics to Chara, but it Chara is native and Starry Stonewort is invasive. Chara is native because it provides necessary nutrients and protection for fish and other animals living in the lake. Starry Stonewort, on the the other hand, does not provide the same benefits. Therefore, they do not have all the same elements as normal plants. It is a common misconception that these are plants, but that is not the case.
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Brazilian Elodea originates from South America. Usually found in the southern and eastern parts of the United States, it is the least common to see out of all the other invasive species in Minnesota. This invasive species also competes with other native plants and animals for life. It does not provide a suitable area for fish or other animals to take protection because it can grow to be very long.
This plant can be rooted or floating, making it very unique as an invasive species in Minnesota.
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Zebra Mussels have become very popular in today’s water talk. They are little mussels with very sharp shells that are a safety hazard for people when they are swimming or standing in water. Zebra Mussels are also harmful because they attach themselves onto rocks, boat lifts, boat motors, and basically any hard or solid object. They are threatening for their hazardous shells, but they can also ruin people’s boats by getting into the motor. This results in the pipes of boats getting clogged with these invasive animals and bursting the pipes.
Along with being painful, Zebra Mussels are also known for making lakes incredibly clear. This is because they filter the water by feeding on algae. From a distance, this may not appear to be a bad characteristic, but the algae is important for other parts of the lakes’ ecosystems. Other fish and animals rely on the algae for food.
Lastly, Zebra Mussels are also known for causing problems with the ecosystem because they attach themselves to anything hard and, eventually, will take the object over. This may not seem like an immense concern for objects like rocks that are not alive. But, they also attached themselves to objects that are living. For example, they are known for killing off other mussels and plants when an abundance of them attach themselves to the live object and completely taking it over. That is another one of the many reasons that Zebra Mussels are seen as a dangerous invasive species.
To learn more about Zebra Mussels, click here!