WILLMAR - Combating invasive species and improving water quality top the agenda for the Willmar Area Lakes Association annual meeting on Wednesday, May 22, at the Willmar Community Center on Business 71 across from Robbins Island Park.

The event is open to the public and kicks off with exhibits at 5:30 p.m., followed by a program at 6 p.m. The meeting also will feature information displays from local and state agencies.

The association reorganized last year with about 60 members, and is actively seeking to increase membership. Elected to the board of directors are: Craig Holmgren, president; Carmen Clementson, vice president; Rick Schwantes, treasurer; and board members: Wayne Mitchell, Bruce DeBlieck, Aaron Schmidt, Jeff Berghuis and Randy Frederickson.

The association has been working on plans to remove curly leaf pondweed. This past winter more than 60,000 pounds of carp were removed. Short presentations will cover invasive species removal, stormwater management, citizen water monitoring, and financial support for projects.

Swan Lake and Willmar Lake main bay have been placed on the state's list of impaired waters because they exceed water quality standards related primarily to excessive algae growth. Large mats of curly leaf pondweed appear to be increasing in Swan, Willmar and Foot lakes. Rough fish such as carp stir up bottom sediment releasing phosphorus contributing to algae growth.

More information is available on the Willmar Area Lakes Association website: willmararealakesassociation.com/