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Prevention

Aquatic

Boat Cleaning and Equipment
Cleaning boats and equipment before leaving the landing is an important step that citizens can take to prevent the spread of invasive species.(Photo courtesy of MN DNR)

Take Action to Stop Aquatic Invasive Species!

It’s everyone’s job to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasives species to Wisconsin lakes. Whether you are a boater, angler, paddler, seaplane pilot, water gardener/pond owner, nursery owner, aquarium enthusiast, or even a teacher, you have a very important role to play in keeping Wisconsin’s lakes free of aquatic invasive species. The main way aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil spread to new waters is often by hitching a ride on the boats and trailers of the very people who enjoy the water the most. Similarly, other aquatic invasive plants and animals are introduced into lakes and streams through accidental and sometimes intentional releases.

Take these steps to ensure that your actions are not part of the problem, but the solution!

Boaters, paddlers, and anglers

  • INSPECT your boat, trailer, and equipment.
  • REMOVE any attached aquatic plants or animals (before launching, after loading, and before transporting on a public highway)
  • DRAIN all water from boats, motors and all equipment
  • NEVER MOVE live fish away from a waterbody.
  • DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.
  • BUY minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer. Use leftover minnows only under certain conditions*

    *You may take leftover minnows away from any state water and use them again on that same water. You may use leftover minnows on other waters only if no lake or river water or other fish were added to their container.

Seaplane pilots

  • INSPECT your seaplane and equipment.
  • REMOVE any attached aquatic plants or animals before landing or taking off
  • DRAIN all water from seaplane or equipment.

Water gardeners or pond owners

  • Never transplant water garden plants into lakes, streams, wetlands or stormwater ponds.
  • Never release crayfish, fish or other animals into lakes or streams.
  • Do not purchase prohibited and restricted species and whenever possible purchase native plants and animals.
  • Check your plant orders for unwanted and potentially invasive hitchhikers (seeds, plant fragments, snails, insects, or fish).
  • Be aware of the regulations regarding possession, transport and sale of invasive plants and animals.
  • Properly dispose of unwanted plants and animals.

Nursery owners

Aquarium enthusiasts or teachers

  • Do not purchase invasive plants or animals that are restricted or prohibited in Wisconsin.
  • Never transplant aquarium plants into lakes, streams, wetlands or stormwater ponds.
  • Never release live crayfish, fish or other animals into lakes and streams.
  • Properly dispose of unwanted plants and animals.

Become a Clean Boats, Clean Waters Volunteer

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 Program [exit DNR] provides one opportunity to take a front line defense against the spread of aquatic invasive species. Through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, adult and youth volunteers will:

  • learn how to organize and conduct a boater education program in their community;
  • educate boaters on how and where invasive species are most likely to hitch a ride into water bodies;
  • perform boat and trailer checks for invasive species and distribute informational brochures;
  • some individuals become water monitoring volunteers as well, collecting and reporting suspect samples of invasive species, particularly for zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil.
For more information on this program please contact:
Erin McFarlane
Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program coordinator
Wisconsin Invasive Species Program
715-346-4978

Join our Citizen Lake Monitoring Network

The Citizen Lake Monitoring Network (CLMN) creates a bond between over 1000 citizen volunteers statewide and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Our goals are to collect high quality data, educate and empower volunteers, and share this data and knowledge.

Volunteers can:

  1. measure water clarity (using the Secchi Disk method);
  2. collect chemistry, temperature, and dissolved oxygen data;
  3. identify and map native plants;
  4. identify and map aquatic invasive species (e.g. Eurasian Water Milfoil, Zebra Mussels, Curly Leaf Pondweed, Purple Loosestrife, Rusty Crayfish, etc.).

The DNR and University of Wisconsin-Extension staff provide volunteers with the necessary equipment and training. Volunteers provide their time, expertise, energy and a willingness to share information with their lake association or other lake users. The information gathered by the volunteers is used by DNR lake biologists, fisheries experts and water regulation and zoning staff, as well as by UW-Extension, lake associations and other interested individuals.

How to Get Involved
For more information on this program please contact:
Laura Herman
Citizen Lake Monitoring Network education specialist
715-365-8998

Or go to The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Citizen Lake Monitoring Network web site.

For more information on how to take action to prevent the spread of invasives check out our Reporting, Control and Best Management Practices pages.

Terrestrial

Prevent the spread of invasive species

Everyone deserves to enjoy Wisconsin’s great outdoors. Our woods, prairies and wetlands are part of our legacy. Whether you take to the woods or just enjoy your own backyard—there are some simple steps that you can take to prevent the spread of invasive species. Please do your part to help protect Wisconsin’s natural treasures!

Campers

  • Leave firewood at home. Buy it within a 25-mile radius of your campsite.
  • Burn all wood during your trip.
  • Inspect clothing and equipment for seeds, insects, etc. before leaving your camping area.

Landowners and gardeners

  • Use native plant species whenever possible.
  • Dispose of seeds in the trash.
  • Be on the lookout for invasive species.
  • Respond aggressively to rid your land of new invasive species.
  • Leave native trees and plants alone; natural landscapes offer the best defense.

Hikers, bikers, ATV riders, and other recreational users

  • Clean your clothes, bicycles, ATV's, etc before leaving a site that is infested with invasive plants.

For more information on how to take action to prevent the spread of invasives check out our Reporting, Control and Best Management Practices pages.

NR40

People are required to take preventive measures to avoid spreading invasive species.

Aquatics

  • Notify the department of the escape of restricted invasive fish species from a safe facility
  • Remove all attached aquatic plants and aquatic animals from vehicles, boats, trailers, equipment and gear of any type immediately upon their removal from the water
  • Drain all water from any vehicle, equipment other than boating or fishing equipment, or gear of any type immediately upon its removal from the water
  • Remove all attached aquatic plants and aquatic animals from vehicles, boats, trailers, equipment and gear of any type before bringing it into the state over land for use on any water of the state or its bank or shore
  • drain all water from any vehicle, equipment other than boating or fishing equipment, or gear of any type before bringing it into the state over land for use on any water of the state or its bank or shore
  • Remove attached aquatic plants and aquatic animals from any vehicle, certain boats, boat trailers, and equipment, and gear of any type or from a sea plane before placing it in any water of the state, and before taking off a in a seaplane or transporting a vehicle, boat, boat trailer, equipment or gear of any type on a public highway
  • Do not use a prohibited invasive fish or crayfish species as bait
  • Do not introduce a nonnative aquatic plant, algae or cyanobacteria species into any water of the state

Insect and disease quarantines

  • Do not transport "identified carriers" - materials that are covered by a department infestation control zone designation or a DATCP or USDA APHIS quarantine order

Best Management Practices (BMP)

  • 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 BMPs, visit the Wisconsin Council on Forestry [exit DNR]

Wetlands

Slow the spread of invasive species in wetlands

  • Learn what Wisconsin wetland invasive plants and wetland invasive animals look like.
  • Remove invasive exotic plants from your landscape and replace them with native plants or non-invasive exotic plants. Remove invasive plants before they are a problem. Scout annually for new invasive plants.
  • Buy nursery-propagated native plants. Never dig or buy plants that have been dug in the wild.
  • Minimize wetland disturbance and promote healthy native plant communities.
  • Avoid using garden plants from other regions whose invasive potential is poorly understood. In addition to potential threats to natural areas, some exotics become pests in carefully managed landscapes and gardens.
  • Be a volunteer spotter for purple loosestrife and other wetland invasive plants.
  • Leave firewood at home when camping.
  • Be on the lookout for insect or disease damage to trees in your landscape.
  • Never release fish, bait or pets to wetlands or other waters.
  • Remove any attached aquatic plants or animals from your boat.
  • Teach others to identify and report wetland invasive plants in Wisconsin

DNR offers a handy field guide to many wetland invasive plants in Wisconsin 16 Common Wetland Invasive Plants and 16 Early Detection Wetland Invasive Plants Guide [PDF] (printable, full color picture guide) that you can print our and take in the field to help identify the wetland invasive plants you'll most likely see.

Last revised: Monday October 01 2012