Divers have removed Eurasian watermilfoil from a newly discovered patch in Lake Le Homme Dieu near Alexandria, Minn., hoping to stop the spread of the invasive species in the lake.

An angler discovered the 20- by 20-foot growth in the middle of the lake last week between the Krueger's Creek and Rotary Beach public accesses. The discovery was verified by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

On Friday, divers pulled out the plants, clump by clump, using a seine to contain milfoil fragments and prevent them from spreading.

"We hope our efforts will prevent Eurasian watermilfoil from widely establishing in the lake," DNR invasive species specialist Nathan Olson said in a news release. However, it's likely that there are plants elsewhere in the lake, Olson said.

The DNR will conduct additional surveys of the lake to determine whether further action will be needed.

Kyle Kirkeby of Ortonville, Minn., discovered the milfoil while he was fishing early last week and immediately reported it to the local DNR office. Kirkeby said he has fished around Eurasian watermilfoil on other lakes and was able to identify it based on its "red tint."

To help stop aquatic hitchhikers, the DNR urges boaters to be extra thorough in examining their boats before they leave a water access point. Minnesota law prohibits boaters from transporting water from infested waters, aquatic plants from infested waters, and other prohibited invasives. Boaters may not launch watercraft with invasive species attached.

Fines for violations doubled on July 1.

Doug Smith • 612-673-4141