Written by Taylor Templer, West Central Coordinator
On June 24th I took four students from the New London-Spicer YES! teams out kayaking on Lake Andrew in New London to survey for aquatic invasive species (AIS) and test water quality. To prepare for the summer surveying, students attended a session on water quality at the 2019 YES! Fall Summit where they learned about water quality and how to take and test water samples. The students also attended the Help Our Waters workshop on March 11th to learn about AIS identification and prevention. The students are now taking that training and education out on the water! First students did a survey from shore by throwing a rake from the dock and collecting aquatic plants, they then looked at their ID books to help identify the species they raked in. Students found a variety of native species from the shore survey.
We then went out on the water by kayak and collected and observed the aquatic plants, identifying and discussing as we went. We found a variety of native species as well as a few invasive species including Eurasian watermilfoil. We also found the invasive species Curly-leaf pondweed, which we were concerned about because it wasn’t listed for Lake Andrew, only Zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil were on the list.
Students took water samples from their kayaks in various locations throughout the trip to test back on shore. On our way back I also found a Zebra mussel attached to one of the plants I pulled up, this was a great opportunity for the students to see what a Zebra mussel looks and feels like in person. When we got back to shore students tested their water samples for phosphates, pH, nitrates, and dissolved oxygen then recorded their results. After the paddle I contacted Eric Katzenmeyer, Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist for the DNR about the Curly-leaf pondweed we had found, he explained that this particular invasive species has been in Minnesota lakes since the late 1800’s so it doesn’t trigger an infestation status for a lake and also doesn’t get put on the orange sign at the accesses. It is still, however, a prohibited invasive species which means it is illegal for people to possess it or move it around.
Overall, it was a great day to be out on the water surveying for AIS and we look forward to paddling again in July and August!
A special thank you to Kandiyohi County AIS Task Force members for helping support our summer surveying.
Major funding for the YES! program was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).