Lake Minnetonka launches new plan to combat invasive species

Officials have a new plan to track, prevent and protect Lake Minnetonka and Minnesota’s other lakes from invasive species.

Launched Tuesday, the nearly one year-long plan involves several steps to keep Minnetonka one of the top lakes in the region.

Not only do invasive species have an ecological impact, but they’re also taking a toll on nearby businesses.

Jeffrey Bergquist and Christian Brooks, who rent out jet-skis for bay rentals in Cooks Bay, say the invasive species problem has gotten worse.

“We have a lot of people who get milfoil sucked up in the jet skis,” Bergquist added.

In drafting the plan, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District got neighbors’ feedback on how to combat the lake’s aquatic invasive species.

“We need a plan, we need to be prepared, we need to identify what’s already out there,” said Vickie Schleuning, Executive Director of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District. “I wonder if we can call it the zombie vegetation because in some ways, you are looking at managing what’s already here so it doesn’t become a nuisance. Some things, when they get introduced, if you don’t respond to them they can spread quickly.”

In part of the plan, people can use a new mobile website to report invasive species sighting in real time at its exact location, helping to track the movement of species in and out of other lakes.

“We want to keep that going, and invasive species get out of hand where we can’t do that,” Brooks said.