Efforts to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin are helping, but haven’t stopped them completely.
The Department of Natural Resources has undertaken several initiatives in recent years to help limit the movement of non-native plants and animals that could threaten the fragile ecosystems of Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes.
DNR Aquatic Invasive Species coordinator Bob Wakeman says a major focus of those efforts has been on public education, since they’re actions are the most likely to result in the spread of an organism.
Still, new infestations continue to pop up. Most recently, zebra mussels were discovered in the Waupaca chain of lakes. Wakeman says it’s disappointing when that happens, although he says 95-percent of Wisconsin’s waters remain free of harmful non-native species.
Wakeman says it’s really up to the public to help control the spread of invasive species. He says boaters are now required by law to check for plant or animal life that may be clinging on to the hull, and they need to flush out ballast or live well water before putting their boat in another lake.
State officials will be out checking this weekend for violations.