PAYNESVILLE -- The Koronis Lake Association in Paynesville is gearing up to begin the fight against the aquatic invasive species Starry Stonewart. Governor Mark Dayton has signed the supplemental budget bill clearing the way for $200,000 in state money to the effort.

Lake association board member Kevin Farnum says the money will be used toward a matching grant of $425,000 from the Initiative Foundation. In the meantime, he says they will conduct a pilot project on 4-6 acres of the lake to see if their plan will work.

The group will net off that section of the lake, then use an "eco-harvester" to pull the dense weed mats from the lake. Divers will then be sent in to collect the remaining remnants of the weeds before applying an herbicide.

If the pilot works, the lake association will use the approximately $800,000 in grant money and donations to remove the invasive species from the remaining 245-acres of the 3,000-acre lake.

Farnum says the project is being monitored as a possible template for removing starry stonewart in other lakes around the country.  They are working with several agencies to conduct the weed removal and a professor from Clemson University is studying samples from Lake Koronis in an effort to help the process.

The pilot project is expected to get underway in the coming weeks.