- Classified invasive species
- Contact information
- DNR invasive species staff
Invasive species rule – NR 40
View the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council's recommendations on their website.
The invasive species rule (Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 40) makes it illegal to possess, transport, transfer, or introduce certain invasive species in Wisconsin without a permit. Everyone is responsible to comply with these regulations. What you need to do as an individual, business, or organization may vary depending on your type of work and activities. Any activities that include habitat restoration, soil movement, outdoor recreation, water usage, landscaping, gardening, or habitat management may encounter invasive species. The official species lists are shown on the side bar of this page, and the details of the rule are shown in the tabs below.
Follow these general guidelines to comply with the invasive species laws
- Become familiar with chapter NR 40 and how the rule may impact your work.
- Become familiar with the listed species and their regulated status for your county.
Follow the Laws
- Don't buy, sell, transport, or introduce invasive species without a permit.
- Inspect boats, trailers, and equipment and remove invasive species.
- Don't use regulated species in plantings or projects.
- Don't move firewood.
- To learn about what else you can do, visit our prevention page.
What the rule does
What the rule does
The Chapter NR 40 rule creates a comprehensive, science-based system with criteria to classify invasive species into two categories: "prohibited" and "restricted." With certain exceptions, the transport, possession, transfer and introduction of Prohibited species is banned. Restricted species are also subject to a ban on transport, transfer and introduction, but possession is allowed, with the exception of fish and crayfish. The department may issue permits for research or public display of any listed invasive species. For species other than invasive fish and crayfish, permits may also be issued for any other purpose. The rule also defines the terminology used.
Measures to allow fast action
The rules are aimed at preventing new invasive species from getting to Wisconsin, and enabling quick action to control or eradicate those here but not yet established. With landowner permission or a judicial inspection warrant, DNR may inspect for, sample and control prohibited species only. People found responsible for a prohibited species' presence on property they own, control or manage may be ordered to carry out approved control measures. If a control order is not followed, and DNR takes control measures, DNR may seek cost-recovery. Control of restricted species is encouraged, but not required. Incidental or unknowing transport, possession, transfer or introduction of a listed invasive species without a permit is exempt if DNR determines that it was not due to the person's failure to take reasonable precautions.
The rules also include preventive measures that are not species-specific but instead address common pathways that may allow invasives to spread. These measures complement existing statutes and rules such as the – such as the VHS rules, for example – and include requirements to remove aquatic plants and animals and drain water from vehicles, boats, trailers and equipment upon removal from the water and to remove aquatic plants and animals from any vehicle, boat, trailer or equipment before placing it in any water of the state or transporting it on a highway.
In 2001, the Wisconsin Legislature directed the Department of Natural Resources to establish a statewide program to control invasive species, and to promulgate rules to identify, classify and control invasive species for purposes of the program. By 2004, the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species formed to assist DNR with this task.
As a result, on September 1, 2009 the DNR created Wisconsin's Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control Rule, Chapter NR 40, Wis. Adm. Code was created. The rule helps citizens learn to identify and minimize the spread of plants, animals and diseases that can invade our lands and waters and cause significant damage.
- Invasive species are non-native plants, animals and pathogens whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
- Invasive species can alter ecological relationships among native species and can affect ecosystem function and structure, economic value of ecosystems, and human health.
- There are many non-native plants that are invasive in forests, grasslands, wetlands, lakes and rivers. They displace native species and disrupt wildlife habitat.
- Invasive species threaten Wisconsin's traditions, environment and economy in every corner of our lands and waters.
Why the rule is needed
Without this rule, different invasive species groups are not treated consistently, making concerted action less likely. Federal and state laws provide regulations and resources for early detection and quarantine for invertebrates and disease-causing organisms. State law limits the release of non-native fish and other vertebrates into the wild. However, there are very few federal or state laws that relate to non-native plants. Local noxious weed ordinances are erratic and often uneven in their implementation. This rule allows the Department to have more consistent authority and actions between the species groups and to provide one clear, state-wide law that is reasonable and feasible.
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.
- Additional Contacts
- Chrystal Schreck
Invasive Species Educator
Complete list of DNR invasive species contacts