May 20, 2014
MADISON - Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota share many of the same boaters and anglers - now they're sharing the same message to help protect their iconic waters from aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian water-milfoil, zebra mussels and spiny water fleas.
The states are teaming up on a new public service campaign to help carry a consistent message encouraging boaters and anglers to take steps to avoid accidentally spreading zebra mussels, spiny water fleas and other invasive aquatic species when they travel among states.
A 30-second television spot began airing May 19 on fishing shows across the region. The spot is available on WIDNRTV, Wisconsin's YouTube channel, and on Minnesota DNR, and also is embedded on the agencies' web pages and shared by a network of partner groups across the states.
"We share a common goal of stopping aquatic hitchhikers to keep our Great Lakes and our inland waters healthy," says Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "By pooling our resources we can help reach more people with an important reminder as they travel back and forth."
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr says the Minnesota DNR "welcomes every opportunity to work with other states on AIS prevention measures and this multi-state production is a fitting example. It offers a consistent message and a coordinated approach to effectively address the tough issue of AIS."
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant invites partner organizations and individuals to share the video to spread awareness. "We encourage boaters to take action by cleaning equipment to prevent the spread of invasive species in our states."
Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states have been increasingly trying to work across the region to meet the challenges of invasive species, nonnative species that can cause environmental or economic harm or harm to human health. Outreach was fertile ground for such cooperation, says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates aquatic invasive species efforts for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and who had the idea for the tri-state public service message.
"With the help of our partners and on-site recruiting, we were able to capture a wide diversity of people who enjoy our waters," Wakeman says. "We think it's one of the strengths of the video: seeing and hearing average Wisconsinites, Minnesotans and Michiganders on why they love their waters and why it's important to protect them."
Marjorie Casey, Minnesota DNR aquatic invasive species information officer, says the multi-state public service announcement "is a good reminder for everyone to read and understand local AIS laws wherever they travel.
"The prevention requirements are slightly different across the three states, and the AIS laws for each state are available online."
Michigan's Wyant says that by taking a few minutes to clean boats, trailers, and other fishing equipment and drain water from their boat and fishing equipment, "we can all help keep our Great Lakes healthy and protect our inland waters."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Wakeman, Wisconsin DNR aquatic invasive species coordinator, 262-719-0740; Sarah LeSage, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality aquatic invasive species coordinator, 512-284-5472; Marjorie Casey, Minnesota DNR aquatic invasive species information officer, 651-259-5132; Ann Pierce, Minnesota DNR, Ecological and Water Resources section manager, 651-259-5119