Aquatic Invasive Species
Prevent, Contain, & Control
Non-native, exotic, alien, non-indigenous - no matter what you choose to call them, non-native species are plants and animals present in an ecosystem beyond their native range. Some of these species become "invasive", and may threaten native species and interfere with commercial, agricultural, or recreational activities. In their native environments, there are typically predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors that keep these invasive species in check and create a balance. However, when they are transported to a new environment, the natural checks are usually left behind. This gives invasive plants and animals a jump on the native competition. Additionally, Wisconsin's native species haven't "grown up" with these new species, so they often don't know how to eat them or compete against them. You've likely heard stories of zebra mussels covering every available hard surface in a lake or Eurasian water-milfoil plants forming mats so dense that people can no longer boat, fish, or swim. These are just two examples of the invasive plants and animals threatening Wisconsin waters.
Wisconsin's aquatic invasive species program focuses on preventing the introduction of new invasive species to Wisconsin, containing the spread of invasives that are already in the state, and controlling established populations when possible. In close cooperation with the WI DNR, Extension education efforts focus on working with resource professionals and citizens statewide to teach boaters, anglers, and other water users the steps that they should take to prevent transporting aquatic invasives to new waters. Efforts also involve addressing other potential mechanisms of introduction, including aquarium pet release and water gardening. Contact Mindy Wilkinson, Aquatic Invasives Species Outreach Specialist for more information: 608-261-1092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the growing concern over the spread of aquatic invasive species to Wisconsin's inland lakes, many lake association members and other concerned citizens are looking for ways to get involved. The Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteer watercraft inspection program is an opportunity to take a front line defense against the spread of aquatic invasive species. Through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, volunteers are trained to organize and conduct a boater education program in their community. Adults and youth teams educate boaters on how and where invasive species are most likely to hitch a ride into water bodies. Volunteers perform boat and trailer checks for invasive species, distribute informational brochures and collect and report any new water body infestations. Contact Erin McFarlane, Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program Coordinator for more information: 715-346-4978 (Stevens Point) or email@example.com.
The purple loosestrife biological control program is a citizen-based project that emphasizes using two safe, purple loosestrife foliage-feeding beetle species, in combination with traditional methods, for controlling this invasive plant. Citizens of all ages make up the backbone of this cooperative program by rearing and releasing these insects in their local wetlands-and learning about these precious places in the process. Contact Brock Woods, UWEX/DNR Purple Loosestrife Bio-control Coordinator for more information: 608-221-6349 or Brock.Woods@ces.uwex.edu.
Wisconsin DNR Aquatic Invasive Species
Wisconsin DNR General Invasive Species
Wisonsin DNR Statewide Invasives Species Contacts
Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program
See Cella Chow! A Purple Loosestrife Biological Control Manual for Educators
Protect Your Waters and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers
WI Citizen Lake Monitoring