Wondered what Starry Stonewort actually looks like and how to tell it from other native plants? Please visit the “Reports” page for picture identification and frequently asked questions regarding Starry Stonewort.
As those of you who went to the August 26, 2019 Okauchee Lake Management District Annual Meeting know, Starry Stonewort, an aggressive aquatic invasive species plant, has been identified in two small areas on the lake: near the bridge between the channel and Little Okauchee, and near the Golden Mast in the channel. At the Annual Meeting, Commissioners informed residents that aggressive action would be taken to eradicate Starry Stonewort and to keep it from spreading. If this invasive species is allowed to spread, it will aggressively out-compete other aquatic plants in Okauchee Lake and potentially choke off navigation lanes, particularly in shallow areas.
OLMD Commissioners have worked with Kathy Aron, a marine biologist at Aron & Associates, and Brian Suffern, of Marine Biochemists, the organization that chemically treated Okauchee Lake and many of the lakes in this area for decades, to identify and propose treatment options to the DNR. The first option was to treat the Starry Stonewort aggressively in the very small areas in which its been found. This first option included the use of chemicals not currently within the existing OLMD permit that are believed to have little or no effect on native plant life, but have been shown to be effective on the treatment of Starry Stonewort. The DNR lake biologist assigned to Okauchee Lake confirmed the populations of Starry Stonewort, concluded that chemical treatment on other lakes was not effective and further, suggested that the proposed chemical option might stress certain native species. Despite the DNR’s lake biologist admitting that it did not kill those other native species, the application for chemical treatment was denied.
OLMD consultant, Kathy Aron suggested that allowing the Starry Stonewort to continue, without treatment, would not result in it being outcompeted by other plant species as suggested by the DNR, based on her own experience with Starry Stonewort on Wind Lake. Further, since she was well acquainted with the treatment on Wind Lake, which the DNR said was ineffective, she recognized that the DNR that had delayed treatment from one year to the next, allowing Starry Stonewort to spread, and apparently the DNR has not recognized that had Wind Lake been able to use chemical treatment to control Starry Stonewort in two navigational channels, just as the OLMD wants to do, the results would be far better.
OLMD Commissioner Dennis Johnson, in charge of the OLMD Aquatic Plant Management Plan, has appealed this decision to deny use of chemical treatment for Starry Stonewort and has asked the DNR for reconsideration. In the meantime, the OLMD is attempting to reach out to Legislators and others to see if there is a more aggressive and promising solution than the “wait and see” attitude adopted by the DNR.
There will be an informational meeting on October 12th from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Delafield Town Hall: W302N1254 Maple Avenue, Delafield, WI 53018. The meeting is primarily for the residents of the Nemahbin Lakes, Pewaukee Lake, and Okauchee Lake, but all are welcome to attend. There will be a presentation going over the ecology and identification of Starry Stonewort, as well as current control efforts, results, and what the next steps are in regards to the management of this species. The Town of Delafield has requested that in place of payment for the venue that all attendees bring an item to donate to the local food pantry. The following items have been requested: Canned soups, canned vegetables, canned meat, canned fruit.
Please visit the Waukesha County AIS webpage at: www.waukeshacounty.gov/AIS to learn the latest information about this species!
As you may already be aware, Starry Stonewort, an aggressive aquatic invasive plant, has recently been found in area lakes, including Okauchee Lake, Pewaukee Lake, and Lower Nemahbin. The stands of Starry Stonewort have been monitored and a series of surveys have begun in working toward finding the correct treatment option for the lakes. Identification information and survey/treatment options are included in the full announcement located on the Waukesha County AIS webpage at: www.waukeshacounty.gov/AIS.
Starry Stonewort is an aggressive aquatic invasive plant that forms dense mats of weeds and chokes out native species. It is spread by the “stars” that grow on the plant. Small fragments of the plant containing a starry bulbil can begin a new stand. These fragments can easily be tucked away in live wells, trailers and any water remaining on a watercraft as a boater moves from lake to lake. Please exercise caution and common sense in moving about the lake to avoid any treatment activity going on in the lake and upon removal of watercraft for the season. More information will be posted to this website as it becomes available. Detailed information about the Starry Stonewort plant is available on the “Reports” page.
At the August 26, 2019 Annual Meeting OLMD residents were made aware that two stands of the aquatic invasive species, Starry Stonewort, were found in Okauchee Lake. One stand is near the bridge by Foolery’s. A second stand was found near the boat launch at the Golden Mast. OLMD Commissioners took action to begin the required DNR permitting process to aggressively treat Starry Stonewort in the months to come. Please be aware of this situation and clean your boats, trailers and all watercraft upon exiting the lake for the winter season. If you see someone putting their boat in at the launch sites, please notify them that Starry Stonewort is present so that they can make an informed decision on whether to launch on the lake. More information will be posted to this website as it becomes available.