Regional Aquatic Invasive Species program continues through 2020
New funding will extend the current Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program through 2020. This current Regional AIS program provides service in central WI including Green Lake, Lincoln, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Taylor, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood Counties.
In previous years these counties had varying AIS programs. Partnering with Golden Sands Resources Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council, Inc in 2017, the counties came together to form the first Regional AIS program in Central Wisconsin. DNR grants and substantial contributions from local lake groups, the Green Lake Sanitary District and several partnering counties have made the AIS program a consistent service available to the public in central WI.
The DNR grant funded 2018 Regional AIS program has been recently completed. Summaries and reports from this program are available by contacting Golden Sands RC&D or at their webpage, https://www.goldensandsrcd.org/aquatic-invasive-species.
Many great partnerships and volunteer relationships have been formed during the past several years. Collaboration has come from proactive citizens, organized lake groups, county partners, local restaurants, fishing guides, local boy scouts, 4-H, school students & teachers, Green Lake Sanitary District, WDNR staff, and Golden Sands RC&D Council, Inc. Through this collaboration a variety of projects have been started, accomplished, and/or have increased involvement.
Over a million purple loosestrife beetles (Gallerucella spp.) have been raised and released to help manage local purple loosestrife populations.
Over 1000 students have been taught AIS curriculum.
Over 100 public access lakes were surveyed for AIS populations. County support created GIS maps for waterbodies where invasive species were found.
Other accomplishments include hundreds of AIS educational events, hand pulling or AIS work parties, and lake group presentations/trainings on AIS, native plants, and clean boats.
Purple loosestrife beetle rearing, AIS monitoring, and watercraft inspections will remain important objectives with citizen involvement playing key roles.
New this year, monitoring for starry stonewort, Nitellopsis obtusa, will increase in central Wisconsin since it was found in Marquette Co in 2019. This species is a relatively new AIS in Wisconsin and not much is known about it.
The AIS program will also be doing outreach with organisms in trade (OIT), a known pathway by which invasive species can be spread. This is a broad pathway not limited to stores and businesses online but also individuals selling on Facebook, Craigslist and other platforms. The regional AIS program is partnering in statewide efforts to educate sellers to prevent the spread of restricted and prohibited species.
Meetings, presentations, and trainings are currently being scheduled. Lake groups, intrigued citizens/groups, and volunteers interested in setting up events or with questions can contact Golden Sands RC&D at 715-343-6215.