Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

2020 AIS Survey

Joel Settles tosses the rake to collect plant samples.

     On a beautiful July day, an AIS inspection team including Pat and Dick Wulff, Joel Settles, Merry Petitclair and Robin Reid set out on Lake Independence to look for any signs of invasive species. The team was surprised to find very little vegetation; most of the shoreline areas were plant-free. The only exception was the west side of the lake, where there are bullrushes bordering the shoreline, and patches of lily pads.

     There were only a few locations where coontail and Eurasian milfoil were visible. The milfoil observed along the shoreline earlier this summer has died back. Even normally abundant coontail was scarce. The patches of vegetation that were located consisted of coontail entwined with strands of half-dead milfoil. The native coontail appears to be driving out the invasive Eurasian milfoil. As expected, the team did not find any curly-leaf pondweed; it generally  appears in the spring and dies in July. 

Pat Wulff diligently hunts for starry stonewort.

The inspection turned up no signs of starry stonewort, an invasive algae that has been discovered in several Minnesota lakes. Early detection is critical for controlling the spread, so we remain vigilant. No zebra mussels were found during the inspection, but a few have been discovered  recently by lakeshore owners. Fortunately, the critters don’t seem to like our lake and we’re not seeing the large clusters found on other nearby lakes.  

Survey Results:

Eurasian milfoil

Curly-leaf pondweed

    In the summer of 2019, LICA commissioned James Johnson of Freshwater Scientific Services to survey Lake Independence and identify the areas of the lake with the highest concentrations of Eurasian milfoil and curlyleaf pondweed. The curlyleaf pondweed survey was performed in late spring when the growth is peaking; the milfoil survey took place in the summer when the concentrations of milfoil are at their maximum. The data was collected by following a zig-zag course in the shallow areas all around the lakeshore. GPS readings were taken to pinpoint the exact location of each measurement.

    The purpose of the survey was to identify those areas where treatment would have maximum beneficial impact. But Johnson recommended to the Board that before we take any action, we develop an Aquatic Plant Management (APM) Plan that spells out our goals and objectives, to provide guidance when prioritizing future projects. There are a number of issues related to treatment plans: cost vs benefit, input from lakeshore owners, areas where treatment would be most effective, what type of herbicide to use, etc. Before drafting our APM plan, the LICA board will be surveying members for their input. We will also be working closely with experts from the
U of M, DNR and Three Rivers.

Curly-leaf Pondweed


Potential Treatment Areas

Eurasian Milfoil


Potential Treatment Areas