Focus Group Initiative - Aquatic Invasive Species
During the spring of 2012, at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), researchers with the University of Wisconsin Survey Center (UWSC) conducted five focus groups on matters related to aquatic invasive species (AIS), specifically, boaters’ willingness to comply with AIS regulations and their appraisal of various AIS marketing materials. The groups provided a setting in which a cross section of the state’s boating-anglers could respond to a series of questions relating to AIS control measures and DNR outreach efforts. This report summarizes the results of those groups.
This report expresses the range of opinions and habits for Wisconsin’s boaters and anglers rather than a consensus. However, some themes emerged. Participant knowledge of AIS laws was high and most had direct experience with AIS. Personal ethics were cited the most frequently as their motivation for taking AIS prevention steps, yet many knowingly violate the rules under certain circumstances. There is still a level of confusion about penalties and the details of draining and bait laws.
WDNR and Wisconsin’s AIS partners will be utilizing this report to refine and develop priorities for AIS education, control and enforcement efforts.