Wisconsin's New Invasive Species Rule
The emerald ash borer now threatens Wisconsin's 770 million ash trees.
- 490 waters with Eurasian Watermil Foil
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- 21 waters with rainbow smelt
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- 119 waters with zebra mussels
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- 8 counties quarantined for Emerald ash borer
» Read more [PDF exit DNR]
- 40 species of invasive plants not yet widespread are identified for early detection and eradication.
- 186 aquatic invasive species have invaded the Great Lakes since the 1800s; some are now found in Wisconsin's Great Lakes waters and a subset have made their way to inland waters.
- Wisconsin's leading industries, native ecosystems, outdoor recreation, and taxpayers' pocketbooks are facing an onslaught of invasive species - nonnative plants, animals and pathogens from other regions and other countries.
- These invasive species - everything from zebra mussels, to Eurasian Water Milfoil to emerald ash borer and gypsy moth -- cause more damage in some places than in others, but generally they can:
- Crowd out native species, which in turn impacts wildlife that depend on native species for food and habitat.
- Interfere with recreation, as Eurasian Water Milfoil does when thick mats of the plant tangle in boat propellers.
- Impact industry. Buckthorn and honeysuckle, by preventing forest regeneration, can cause short- and long-term damage to Wisconsin's $22.6 billion forestry and forest products industry, which employs 160,000.
- Cost taxpayers, businesses and consumers money. Since 2003 alone, the state has provided $10.5 million in grants to local communities for aquatic invasives species prevention and control. Lake districts and associations collectively spend millions each year harvesting Eurasian Water Milfoil or treating it with chemicals. Utility rate customers pay when zebra mussels clog water intake pipes.
- Reduce scenic beauty and our quality of life. The emerald ash borer, for example, threatens to kill ash trees, which comprise 20 percent of trees in urban areas in Wisconsin.
The good news is most Wisconsin lakes, wetlands, forests and prairies don't have the most troublesome invasive species. Wisconsin has been working on the national, state and local level to prevent new invasive species from being introduced here and to prevent invaders already here from spreading.
People play a major role in bringing invasive species here in the first place and then spreading them once they are established here. Many non-native plant species were purposefully introduced to beautify gardens to beautify gardens, and as medicinal and forage plants. Gypsy moths were brought here by an individual hoping to create a super silk spinner.
Many other invasive species have been accidentally introduced to Wisconsin. More than 180 nonnative fish, plants, insects and organisms have entered the Great Lakes since the early 1800s, with ocean-going ships' ballast water has accounted for 55-70 percent of reported aquatic species introductions since 1959 to the Great Lakes.
Zebra mussels and Eurasian Water Milfoil can be carried in a bait bucket or attached to a boat trailer. Emerald ash borer and gypsy moth can be carried in the firewood campers bring with them.
The Red Swamp Crayfish was found in August in a Germantown pond and is prohibited under a new invasive species rule that takes effect as of September 1st.
Red Swamp Crayfish [PDF 1.09MB]
A 2001 law directed DNR to establish a statewide program to control invasive species, focusing on those that threaten Wisconsin's economy and ecosystems and may be approaching but not yet established in the state.
DNR worked with dozens of stakeholder groups and the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species [exit DNR] to develop the rule, which classifies invasive species into two categories, "Prohibited Species" and "Restricted Species," and establishes regulations people must follow for those listed species.
List of prohibited and restricted species:
The rules also include preventive measures that people must take to avoid accidentally spreading any invasive species. These measures complement existing statutes and rules such as the VHS rules.
Regulations for Prohibited and Restricted Species
"Prohibited species" are not yet in the state or only exist in small populations but have the potential to cause significant damage if they are allowed to spread and become established. The goal is to contain their spread, so it's illegal for people to transport, import, possess, transfer, sell and introduce "Prohibited Species", with some exceptions.
"Restricted species" are invasive species that are already too widespread to realistically expect they can be eradicated or contained but the goal is to slow the spread. It's illegal for people to transport, import, transfer, sell and introduce "restricted species," but people may possess restricted species with the exception of fish and crayfish.
DNR may issue permits for research or public display of any prohibited or restricted invasive species, and may issue permits for any other purposes for all of them with the exception of invasive fish and crayfish.
The rule also exempts people who incidentally or unknowingly transport, possess, transfer or introduce a listed invasive species without a permit if the DNR determines that they took reasonable precautions.
Who will be affected?
A very small number of people will have prohibited species show up on their land, some unintentionally, others knowingly. With landowner permission or a judicial inspection warrant, DNR may inspect property for prohibited species only, as well as sample and control for these species. The DNR will seek to work cooperatively with the land owner or manager to determine the best means of control and approve a management plan. The DNR will seek funds to help in the control of prohibited species if the DNR determines it's feasible and reasonable to control the prohibited species on the property.
The rule complements other state laws, rules and programs to help prevent and control invasive species. Here are some examples:
- Invasive Species Best Management Practices [exit DNR]
To minimize this spread of invasive species, interested stakeholders have been working over the last few years to develop voluntary Best Management Practices. These guidelines will help Wisconsin residents and visitors to decrease the likelihood that they are moving invasive species around.
For more information on NR 40 or to report a classified species please contact Melinda Wilkinson, Invasive Species Project Coordinator, (608) 266-6437 or see the list of complete contacts below.
Prescribed burns finally underway at State Natural Areas after cold weather delay
Issued by DNR Central Office on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:05:08 PM
Late spring means garlic mustard will quickly bolt to flower as temperatures warm up
Issued by DNR Central Office on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:01:18 PM
Invasive species strategic plan released, implementation summit planned
Issued by DNR Central Office on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:41:31 PM
Natural Resources Board approves new public input process for DNR guidance, opens up meetings to Mediasite broadcasts
Issued by DNR Central Office on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 10:44:02 AM
Wisconsin regular inland game fish season opens Saturday, May 4
Issued by DNR Central Office on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 12:25:10 PM
More than 100 local groups get grants to tackle aquatic invasive species and runoff
Issued by DNR Central Office on Friday, April 05, 2013 at 12:00:58 PM
Grass and brush fires planned for northeast Wisconsin
Issued by DNR Northeast Region on Thursday, April 04, 2013 at 9:58:40 AM
Nominations sought for Invader Crusader awards
Issued by DNR Central Office on Tuesday, April 02, 2013 at 2:36:10 PM
Top international, national and state water leaders to speak at annual lakes convention
Issued by DNR Central Office on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 2:19:50 PM
Work*Play*Earth Day events to be held at 20 state park properties
Issued by DNR Central Office on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 2:02:43 PM
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Last Revised: Saturday, May 18, 2013