The New London–Spicer YES! Team has been spending part of their summer searching local lakes and rivers for aquatic invasive species. Through the Kandiyohi County Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force, 12 New London-Spicer YES! students were able to fund a summer project to help build up the new AquaHunter App. This smartphone and computer application was created by the task force for the general public. It allows anyone to be able to take a photo of aquatic vegetation and some aquatic animals and the app will tell you the species and if it is invasive or native to Minnesota. Since the application is so new, the database of pictures needs to be built up, which is where the New London-Spicer YES! Team comes in.
Four paddling trips will take place this summer with the Central/West Central YES! Coordinator and Stephanie Felt, Kandiyohi Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. Lake Andrew, Games Lake, and Norway Lake have already been examined. A stretch of the Crow River, Nest Lake, and Green Lake await the team in the following weeks to come. While paddling, the team collects and identifies different native and non-native plants. Then they take multiple photos of the collection and add them to the AquaHunter app.
So far, invasive species have been found in lakes that are not reported to have them at this point. Samples were collected and handed into the DNR for closer review. The hope for the summer is to get the application more accurate so the public can correctly use it to identify aquatic species while encouraging the general public to be more aware of what is being transferred from lake to lake.
For more information about aquatic invasive species or the AquaHunter App, please visit https://aquahunter.org/.