Starry Stonewort and Local Lakes
Dr. Nate Bosch, Director, Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College
The Center for Lakes & Streams works to make Lake Tippecanoe and other Kosciusko County lakes clean and healthy. Part of this mission is promoting helpful native plant and animal species in Lake Tippecanoe—and working to assist in controlling or eliminating species which are invasive or do not belong in local lakes.
One species, not native to the area, which has proven to be a significant issue in local lakes is starry stonewort. This plant is a fast-growing green algae and tends to compete with native plants for territory. Likewise, starry stonewort tend to thrive in distressed and ever-changing habitats, which are not ideal for other native plant growth.
Perhaps the largest threat presented by the presence of starry stonewort is the invasive plant’s impact on native fish habitats. This plant is notorious for both reducing fish nesting areas and density, and for threatening the occurrence of spawning altogether. The ever-increasing presence of starry stonewort could have long-term implications for fisheries in Indiana.
In 2015, and invasion of starry stonewort covered approximately 43.8 acres on Lake Tippecanoe. The accompanying map, compiled by Nate Long with Aquatic Control Inc., denotes the area covered by starry stonewort.
The Center for Lakes & Streams is working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to gain support for the purpose of conducting a study on effective starry stonewort control in local lakes. This study would include various treatment trials in Lake Wawasee and observations in Lake Tippecanoe this summer and might include specific trials in Lake Tippecanoe next summer. The study’s focus will be controlling this quickly spreading plant in the future.
The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts applicable research, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with other organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner. For more information or to support their efforts, visit lakes.grace.edu.