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a lake.
Aquatic Plan Information, Tools and Research
Contact information
For information on Lakes in Wisconsin, contact:
Wisconsin DNR Lakes
Division of Water
Bureau of Water Quality

Support Aquatic Invasive Species Research

Buying a license?

Your donation supports aquatic invasive species work at DNR, and provides grants to scientists studying ways to improve invasive species prevention and control.

Click here to donate now.

If you enjoy using Wisconsin waters for boating, fishing, or any other activity, you benefit directly from DNR’s work to better understand aquatic invasive species and keep valuable aquatic resources healthy and accessible!

Aquatic invasive species can have negative impacts on Wisconsin’s environment, communities, and economy, but often little is known about these new invaders or how to manage them.

The DNR and many partners are working to prevent and control aquatic invasive species across the state, and research helps us learn how to do so more effectively, efficiently, and safely. Research can also help us better understand the impacts of invasive species on the environment and on communities.

Getting involved is easy

When you register a new boat or renew your registration, just select the option to add an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) donation of $2 or more. You can donate whether you’re registering online, with an agent, or by mail. To register or renew online, please visit GoWild.

Want to support research but don’t need to register a boat? No problem! Click here to make an online donation through GoWild at any time, no other transaction necessary.

Your donations support important work

Your contribution pays for staff, supplies, and other costs of coordinating and carrying out invasive species research and control projects across the state. You’re also supporting grants to scientists outside DNR who are working to better understand aquatic invasive species and the tools used to manage them. Even when projects don’t take place on your local waterbody, what we learn will be applied to benefit all Wisconsin waters!

Recent research accomplishments

  • DNR scientists and partners have researched non-native watermilfoil plants across Wisconsin, including studies on ecological impacts and control methods. These studies have help us better monitor and manage new and existing populations of invasive plants. Ongoing grant-funded research is also collecting data to help us better understand and manage populations of hybrid watermilfoil using tools like genetic analysis.

  • Multiple studies have been completed by both DNR staff and external partners on the effectiveness of different chemical methods for controlling invasive aquatic species. Several also examined the impacts of herbicides on native plants and animals. Results from this kind of research are helping DNR ensure that herbicides applied to control aquatic plants are used as effectively as possible.
  • Grant-supported studies are also helping us learn more about small aquatic beetles called milfoil weevils which feed on Eurasian watermilfoil. The Golden Sands Resource Conservation & Development Council conducted research to support the potential use of weevils as a way to control Eurasian watermilfoil without herbicides. Scientists from UW-Madison and Missouri State University collaborated on two grant-supported projects highlighting factors that may affect the success of using weevils as biocontrol, such as native fish that feed on them.
      • Information about scientific publications from several weevil studies and other DNR-supported projects is available on our research articles page

  • Grant-funded research is ongoing to understand how to better prevent the spread of new invasive species in Wisconsin like starry stonewort and New Zealand mudsnails.
  • Researchers at UW-Madison studied some of the significant ecological and economic impacts of the invasive spiny waterflea. They evaluated methods for detecting new invasions of this species, and identified ways it may be likely to spread between waterbodies.
  • This and other research supports DNR efforts to prevent the spread of AIS.

  • Scientists at UW-Madison are collecting data to better understand what factors may affect the growth and spread of zebra mussels in Lake Mendota. Some interactive data from the research team can be viewed online.
  • Researchers at UW-Oshkosh are studying zebra mussels in Lake Winnebago and their potential effects on water quality.

The results of these and many other research studies have helped DNR:

  • Identify best practices for when and how to control species that impact the environment and lake users,
  • Better prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals,
  • Improve methods used to monitor existing populations of aquatic invasive species, and
  • Find ways to better predict what waterbodies may be vulnerable to new invasions.

Learn more

For more detailed information on some of DNR’s research on aquatic invasive species and control methods visit our research page.

To learn more about aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin more generally, visit DNR’s AIS page.

Take action

In addition to supporting research activities with a donation, visit our prevention page to learn more about ways you can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers