Prevent, Contain & Control – Aquatic Invasive Species
Non-native, exotic, alien, non-indigenous, non-traditional – no matter what you choose to call them, non-native species are plants and animals present in an ecosystem beyond their native range. In their native environments, predators, parasites, pathogens and competitors typically keep these species in check and create a balance. However, natural checks are left behind when non-native species are transported to a new environment. While some species come into a new area without causing any issues, other non-native plants and animals can get a jump on the native competition and become “invasive.” Additionally, Wisconsin’s native birds, insects and animals have not evolved with these new species, so they may not be able to eat them or use them for bedding or shelter. Non-native species may crowd out native plants and then bloom at the wrong time of year for local pollinators, creating feast or famine conditions. Non-native species may also interfere with commercial, agricultural or recreational activities. Visitors to lakes may encounter Eurasian watermilfoil, a long, thick-growing plant that forms mats so dense people can no longer boat, fish or swim in parts of the lake. Other species, such as zebra mussels, that cover hard surfaces with their sharp shells can interfere with human health by cutting feet or filtering water until blue-green algae is more abundant than healthy algae.
Wisconsin’s aquatic invasive species (AIS) program focuses on preventing the introduction of new invasive species to Wisconsin, containing the spread of invasives that are already in the state and managing established populations when possible. In close cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and Extension Lakes program, UW– Madison Division of Extension education efforts focus on working with resource professionals and citizens statewide to teach boaters, anglers and other water-users the steps they should take to prevent transporting aquatic invasives to new waters. Efforts also address other potential mechanisms of introduction, including aquarium pet release and water gardening.
Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol and You
Aquatic Invasive Species Publications Catalog
Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan
WDNR Aquatic Invasive Species
Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program
WI Citizen Lake Monitoring Network