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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

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June 2005

Wisconsin's first invasive species awareness month

Through awareness comes positive change.

Amy Staffen

Tips to prevent the spread
  • Paddle a pristine northern Wisconsin lake surrounded by forest and diverse wetlands to learn how purple loosestrife biological control is helping to keep the invader in check.

  • Hike through the richest prairie ecosystem in Wisconsin, Chiwaukee Prairie, while learning about its ecology, management and invasive species threats.

  • Hand out informative invasive "Wild Cards" at a fishing tournament or festival.

  • Publish information on invasive species in your neighborhood newsletter using a press-ready article.

These are just a few ways that citizens might get involved in aquatic invasive species education. Gov. Jim Doyle has proclaimed June Invasive Species Awareness Month in Wisconsin. All month, Wisconsin residents and visitors will learn about aquatic and terrestrial invasive species at workshops, field trips and lectures, and through newspapers, television and radio.


"We are privileged to enjoy Wisconsin's many high-quality forests, waterways, wetlands and agricultural areas," says Gov. Doyle. "They are essential to the quality of life we've come to expect here in our great state. It is important that we acknowledge the growing threat from invasive species to our natural resources and work to find solutions."

Invasive Species Awareness Month is an opportunity to elevate the discussion and take action. Legislators are considering increased funding for invasive species monitoring and control in the biennial budget. Trained groups such as "Clean Boats, Clean Waters" are taking an active role in invasive species education, monitoring and management. State, regional and federal groups have joined forces in coordinated efforts to control invasives.

The legislature created the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species to address how invasives harm Wisconsin's ecological and economic resources as well as human health.

Sea lamprey attach to fish with a sucking disk and sharp teeth. © DNR Photo
Sea lamprey attach to fish with a sucking disk and sharp teeth.

© DNR Photo

The state's first Invasive Species Awareness Month lays a foundation for future June awareness months. About 460 potential partners across the state will lead awareness events. An Awareness Month Planning Committee represents nonprofit conservation organizations and state agencies.

The goal is to provide opportunities for extended learning and involvement to better control invasives. The motto of Invasive Species Awareness Month is: "Through awareness comes positive change."

The first priority is to prevent new introductions into Wisconsin. The second priority is to prevent the spread of invasive species that are already in the state. Invasive Species Awareness Month provides an opportunity to help citizens become part of the solution by stopping the introduction, transport and spread of invasive species. They can learn how to:

  • recognize invasive species
  • report their presence
  • avoid purchasing, planting or importing invasive species
  • help prevent the spread of aquatic hitchhikers by properly cleaning their boat, boat trailer and boating equipment
  • effectively share knowledge on invasive species with others

Would you like to lead an Invasive Species Awareness Month activity? Are you wondering what events are taking place in your area? Visit Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species to find tips on leading events, educational resources, a media kit, a speakers bureau, press-ready articles for distribution and publication, an image library, an experts contact list and list of Invasive Species Awareness Month events across the state.

Amy Staffen is the invasive species education coordinator for the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species.

Tips to prevent the spread
Help prevent aquatic hitchhikers from catching a ride on your boat, trailer or boating equipment:

  1. Inspect and remove aquatic plants, animals and mud from your boat, trailer and equipment.

  2. Drain all water from your motor, live well, bilge, transom wells, jet drives, SCUBA equipment, etc.

  3. Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Never release live bait into a waterbody, or transfer aquatic animals from one waterbody to another.

  4. Wash your boat and equipment with hot (>104 degrees F) and/or high pressure water, particularly if moored for more than one day, or

  5. Dry your boat and equipment thoroughly for five days before transporting to new waters.

  6. "Watch Cards" and "Wildcards" are available from the Department of Natural Resources to help you identify aquatic invasives. If you think you have a new sighting to report, please preserve the specimen in alcohol or keep it moist in a sealed bag and refrigerate. Call the DNR (608-266-9270) or the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program (920-683-4697) for identification. Visit the Wisconsin DNR website Aquatic Invasive Species.