ST. CLOUD -- There were more than 21,500 inspections for aquatic invasive species conducted on Stearns County lakes in 2016.

As a result, inspectors prevented potential infestations 181 times. However, there were two new infestations discovered. Starry Stonewart was discovered in Rice Lake and Zebra Mussels were found in Big Birch Lake.

Stearns County's AIS committee spent nearly $250,000 on the program last year. A majority of the money was spent on inspection and decontamination with a sizable amount also spent on population assessment and management.

The program is subsidized with state funding and the total money spent doesn't include contributions from lake associations and the Sauk River Watershed District.