BELTRAMI COUNTY -- An aquatic invasive species has been discovered in a portion of the Mississippi River southeast of Bemidji.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed starry stonewort in a section of the river between Wolf Lake upstream and Cass Lake downstream. The stretch of the Mississippi River is within the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe boundaries and was found at a resort on the river.

Starry stonewort was discovered in Wolf Lake in 2018 and in Cass Lake in 2016.

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This marks the 19th Minnesota water body to become infested with starry stonewort. It is algae that look similar to native aquatic plants and can form dense mats, interfere with the use of the lake and choke out native vegetation.

Starry stonewort has never been eradicated from any U.S. lake or river, but treatments can reduce the risk of spread.

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