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Weekly News Published June 25, 2019

 

Harnessing thousands of eyes to track down new invasive species

Contact(s): Jason Granberg, DNR invasive plant specialist, (608) 267-7758

New technology brings together reports from all over Wisconsin, makes it easy to use

MADISON - Citizens reporting wild chervil and other invasive species they see along roadsides, bike paths, public lands and waters are part of a comprehensive database helping quickly detect new invasive species, so resources can be directed to controlling them quickly.

Wisconsinites can use this interactive map to see which invasive species are being reported where.  - Photo credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension
Wisconsinites can use this interactive map to see which invasive species are being reported where. Photo credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension

The Invasive Species Archive combines monitoring data from the Department of Natural Resources, federal agencies, university researchers, and citizen scientists It uses new technology to make it easy for property managers, local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, and others who work with invasive species.

"This tool will enable our partners to take the data and immediately use it to create monitoring and control plans for invasive species," says Jason Granberg, the Department of Natural Resources invasive species specialist who built the tool.

DNR has early detection and response funds that can help local conservationists address a new infestation while the population is still small enough to control, Granberg says. Once an invasive species gets established, the costs to manage and control it can become very expensive.

DNR has provided all DNR state natural area, parks, forest, and wildlife area managers and local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas with lists of all species reported within and near their borders. DNR also has shared the archive with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to use in their plan to control prohibited invasive species found along road right of ways.

"It's great to have this resource at our disposal," says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates DNR aquatic invasive species efforts. "Our partners and property managers now have some help in identifying what invasive species may be on their property and developing a control strategy that helps them to prioritize where they should spend limited resources for control."

The Lower Chippewa Invasives Partnership, for example used the archive information from DNR to quickly apply for DNR rapid response funds to control amur cork trees and wild chervil. The money is helping the partnership train officials, roadside managers and landowners to address infestations of the two species, and to pay for supplies for local control of them.

Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that take over a new location and alter the ecosystem, affecting its function, economic value and/or human health. Typically, these invasive species can take over an area because they do not have the predators, competitors, or diseases from their home ranges which keep them in check.

Call for the public to report prohibited species to DNR

To keep the database current and robust, Granberg is inviting Wisconsin residents and visitors to report if they find species that are prohibited in Wisconsin and if they find a plant or animal they've never seen before. See some of the prohibited terrestrial invasive species DNR is looking for in this slide show.

"Early detection is crucial for the early control of these species," Granberg says. The public can contact the DNR by sending an email to Invasive.Species@Wisconsin.Gov along with a photograph, location, and size descriptions for any invasive species.

To understand which invasive species are prohibited in Wisconsin and which have been reported in an area, people can use the Wisconsin Shared Terrestrial Invasive Plant Presence online visualization tool developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison's Division of Extension. This interactive map provides information on species locations, legal classification, and area of interest.

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All hands are on deck this Fourth-of-July weekend to stop aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin

Contact(s): Jeanne Scherer, 608-266-0061, Jeanne.scherer@wisc.edu or Tim Campbell, 608-265-3727, tim.campbell@wisc.edu

MADISON - Fourth-of-July is Wisconsin's busiest and best boating holiday, which makes it a great time for the annual Clean Boats, Clean Waters Landing Blitz, July 3 -7. Department of Natural Resources staff, volunteers and regional AIS partners will be at boat launches statewide to remind people that the power to protect against harmful species is shared by all who love Wisconsin's waters. This year, Wisconsin's effort is part of a larger event happening throughout the Great Lakes region from June 28-July 7.

Volunteers consult with boaters to underscore importance of cleaning their boats between waterways.  - Photo credit: DNR
Volunteers consult with boaters to underscore importance of cleaning their boats to prevent spread of invasive species. Photo credit: DNR

Aquatic invasive species, or AIS, such as Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny water fleas and zebra mussels, pose great risks to the health of our waters and fisheries, and there are often no known control options to rid the waters of these species. Prevention is the key and it's in the hands of visitors as well as full-time Wisconsinites. More lakes than ever are participating in 2019 with inspectors giving away Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers boat towels.

"This is the first time that these valuable educational events will be held simultaneously across the entire Great Lakes region. It's a chance to work directly with boaters and deliver a coordinated, regional message about the importance of AIS prevention during the busiest boating weekend of the year," said Bob Wakeman, DNR's statewide AIS coordinator.

Volunteers, AIS partners and DNR boat inspectors will be on hand at landings around the state to demonstrate the prevention steps and answer questions about invasive species. Their efforts will build on the success of last year's campaign during which volunteers inspected almost 9,000 boats and spoke with more than 18,000 people.

"One of the most exciting things about this campaign is the strong volunteer effort. Every year hundreds of concerned citizens participate as volunteers to help us raise awareness and empower boaters," says Wakeman.

Invasive plants and animals can spread easily by hitching a ride on boats and other equipment, including trailers. They can also hide in the water in livewells, bait and fish buckets and motors, so it's important to drain those and drain your boat. Because many invasive species can also be hidden in mud, it's vital to clean off anchors.

Always take the following simple steps before leaving a boat landing:

Following these steps also helps boaters comply with Wisconsin state law, which prohibits the transport of aquatic invasive species. To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin's waters and economy, visit DNR.wi.gov and search "Invasive Species." For those who use social media, they can help spread the word about the importance of aquatic invasive species prevention by posting photos and messages using #CleanBoatsCleanWaters.

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Kenosha High School student wins 2020 state park sticker design contest

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, 608-235-2126 or Chris Pedretti, 608-264-8958

MADISON - A montage of a campsite and kayaker over an outline of the state of Wisconsin by Indian Trail High School and Academy senior Mikaila Garcia of Kenosha, is the winning design for the 2020 Wisconsin State Park admission sticker design contest. The winning design will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and will be displayed on more than 265,000 vehicles.

2020 winning design by Mikaila Garcia,  Indian Trail High School and Academy - Photo credit: DNR
2020 winning design by Mikaila Garcia, Indian Trail High School and AcademyPhoto credit: DNR

"Camping and water sports are among the many activities visitors to Wisconsin State Park System properties enjoy, so this design is a great fit for the Wisconsin State Park admission sticker," said Ben Bergey, Wisconsin State Park System director. "It's also a great fit with our OutWiGo initiative that encourages people to head out and paddle one of our many lakes and rivers to help improve their overall health and wellness by staying active in the outdoors."

Garcia will receive an engraved plaque and a 2020 annual vehicle admission sticker featuring her design when they become available in December.

Second place was won by Colin Dombrowski, Two Rivers High School, whose entry depicted a long-billed dowitcher in a wooded setting, and third place was won by Elinor Decker, Catholic Central High School in Burlington, whose design featured a bee pollinating a flower.

Honorable Mention went to:

The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.

Annual admission stickers cost $28 for Wisconsin residents or $38 for nonresidents. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers for $15.50 for residents and $20.50 for nonresidents. A senior citizen annual sticker for $13 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. The 2020 admission stickers will go on sale in early December.

This is the 29th year a Wisconsin high school student has designed the Wisconsin State Park admission sticker. The contest is open to students in grades nine through 12 or equivalent, attending public, private or parochial schools or home schooled in Wisconsin.

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Sign-up to participate in October deer hunt for disabled hunters now open

Contact(s): Matthew Gross, DNR assistant big game ecologist, 608-261-7588

MADISON - Eligible disabled hunters hoping to participate in the 2019 gun deer hunt for hunters with disabilities must contact a hunt sponsor to sign up before Sept. 1.

As of the June 1 sponsor application deadline, 62 sponsors have enrolled over 73,000 acres of land across 41 counties for this year's hunt, which takes place from Oct. 5-13. For a complete list of 2019 sponsors, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "disabled deer hunt."

DNR strives to make hunting accessible to all hunters.  - Photo credit: DNR
DNR strives to make hunting accessible to all hunters. Photo credit: DNR

"We are very grateful to the sponsors that are willing to provide opportunities for hunters with special challenges in the field,"  says Matthew Gross, DNR assistant big game ecologist. "Giving hunters access to over 73,000 acres of land is instrumental in making this unique opportunity a success and continuing Wisconsin's deer hunting tradition."

Eligible hunters may sign up for one property per year and must possess a gun deer license.

Hunters or assistants must contact sponsors directly to sign up for a hunt. Hunters must provide their name, contact information, and DNR customer ID number. To be eligible, hunters must possess a valid Class A, C or D disabled permit or Class B permit that is issued for longer than one year, authorizing shooting from a stationary vehicle.

It is important for hunters to note that some properties can accommodate more hunters than others, so hunters are advised to contact potential sponsors as early as possible to determine if space is available.

For more information, interested hunters are encouraged to contact Gross by phone at 608-261-7588 or email at Matthew.Gross@wisconsin.gov.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Contact information

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