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Aquatic Invasive Species in Wisconsin

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1 Aquatic Invasive Species in Wisconsin
Name Location Date

2 Wisconsin Lakes Partnership
Science Citizens Education Wisconsin’s AIS programs are supported by the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership.

3 Main Topics Our problem - aquatic invasive hitchhikers
Species Profiles - more info on a few species causing the problem What Wisconsin is doing about the problem AIS Grants Laws & Regulations on AIS Resources—where to go for more information Roadmap for presentation—main topics to cover Background/introduction Species examples Wisconsin AIS programs AIS grant program AIS laws & regulations

4 What are Invasive Species?
Non-native species that can “take over” Not all non-native species are invasive Successful because: No natural predators, parasites, etc. Native species can’t hide, compete, or fight back Often aggressive, prolific, and mature early Many are familiar with invasive species and the problems they cause, but want to give a little introduction to make sure that all on the same page and up to speed. Definition: Invasive species are non-native plants, animals and pathogens that may cause economic, environmental and recreational harm, or affect human health. Invasive because in native environments predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors keep these species in check and create a balance, but in a new environment those checks and balances aren’t there. These species can out-compete native species because they are aggressive, reproduce quickly and mature early.

5 How do they get here? Shipping - ballast water
Intentional introduction - stocking Canals - migration from the ocean Nursery industry Anglers/Bait industry Aquaculture Aquarium trade Invasive species can be introduced and moved around by a variety of activities such as: -ballast water of ocean-going ships -sport fish stocking -accidental releases associated with bait business, aquaculture industry, aquarium trade, and horticultural practices Common theme is that they are primarily moved by humans.

6 How do they spread? Boaters Anglers
Other water users (sea planes, SCUBA, etc) Water garden & aquarium owners Natural dispersal Once in our waters and wetlands, aquatic invasive species rely on humans to spread from one water body to another. This is often accomplished by “hitching a ride” on: -boats, trailers equipment moved from one water to another -bait buckets and livewells -sea planes, SCUBA gear, personal watercraft Accidental release from aquariums and water gardens also contributes to spread Once introduced, some species can spread to adjacent waters without human help (plant seeds/fragments, fish via tributaries)

7 Why do we care? Economic impacts Sport and commercial fishing Tourism
Water users & property owners Ecological Native fish, invertebrates, plants impacted Recreational impacts Boating Angling Aquatic invasive species cause major economic, ecological and recreational impacts. Economic impacts – The costs to control invasive species are extremely high. Invasive species have the ability to harm native sport fish populations. The Great Lakes support a $4 billion fishing industry that is threatened by current and future invasives. Tourism is one of Wisconsin’s largest industries and is dependant on Wisconsin’s lakes, streams, and natural resources that attract travelers. However, aquatic invasive species are harming these resources. Invasive plants form dense mats that make boating, fishing, and swimming difficult. Zebra mussels encrust piers, lift stations, and boats, sometimes leading to costly repairs. Individual lake organizations spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to simply manage (not eradicate) invasive plant populations. For example, in 2003, it cost Wisconsin lake organizations over $1 million to chemically treat lakes for Eurasian water-milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed. Power plants and industries spend millions of dollars combating the zebra mussels that threaten to clog their water intakes. Ecological impacts- Invasive species have the ability to change habitats and threaten the plants and animals that live in them. For example, the Rusty crayfish eats small fish, insects, and fish eggs, and feeds on aquatic vegetation, depriving native fishes of food and cover. Zebra mussels encrust the shells of our native mussels, making it difficult for them to survive. These invasive mussels also consume the tiny plants and animals that young fish rely on for food. Plants like Eurasian water-milfoil form dense mats that shade out native plant species. Wetlands overrun with purple loosestrife no longer support animals that depend on native plants for food and shelter. Recreational impacts- As mentioned previously, Invasive plants form dense mats that make boating, fishing, and swimming difficult. Zebra mussel shells that are washed up on beaches can cut the feet of unsuspecting swimmers.

8 Zebra Mussels Ballast water introduction to the Great Lakes in 1980’s
Present in 118 WI inland lakes (Dec 2008) Attach to any hard surface - may reach tens of thousands per square meter! Are microscopic in early life stages Female can produce 1 million eggs/season Next will look at a few of the worst offenders—remember that they are only a few of the species that are causing problems in WI waters. Zebra Mussels -hardy, prolific mollusks that can clog water intakes, encrust piers and docks, and damage native mussel populations. -small filter feeders (adults 1-2 inches in size) that strain plankton from water -clarify water—seems like a good thing, but reduces food for young fish, and can lead to algae blooms -adults and larvae can be spread in water or on equipment -very costly to power utilities and municipalities (damage to water intakes)

9 Zebra Mussel Distribution
[Insert specific numbers for county here.]

10 Quagga Mussels Found in all Great Lakes but Superior
Ballast water introduction Can survive wide range of temp. & oxygen levels Can live directly on mud and sand Commonly found at 100 feet and deeper Quagga mussels were introduced and are transported in the same ways as zebra mussels. There is a wide range of temperatures and depths that quaggas can survive in – typically tolerate temperatures from 39 to 68 degrees. However, exceptions have been found. They attach to soft substrates, as well as hard surfaces, and can fill in the spaces left by zebra mussels. Most commonly found at 100 feet and deeper, they have been found in depths from 3 to 541 feet…and are expected to go deeper over time.

11 Quagga vs. Zebra Mussels
More effective filter feeders Thrive at greater depth and cooler temps May out-compete ZM Zebra Quagga While it’s difficult to tell the difference between zebra and quagga mussels visually, there are some distinct differences. In addition to tolerating a wider range of temperatures and depths, quagga mussels also have rounder sides than zebra mussels. Quaggas have a convex underside, that actually curves inward, while zebra mussels have quite flat undersides. An experiment you can try to help you identify which mussel you have – try to balance the mussel on its side. If it while lay on it’s side, it’s like a zebra mussel (that has the characteristically flat underside). If the mussel keeps falling over and will not balance, it’s likely a quagga. Quagga mussels have gone from a relatively rare fine to the dominant invasive mussel in Lake Michigan. They could prove to be much more disruptive than zebra mussels because they are more effective filter feeders, and they can live and breed in colder, deeper waters. Quagga - rounder sides & convex underside ZM - triangular shape & flat underside

12 Eurasian Water-milfoil
First found in WI in 1960s Currently found in 467 WI lakes (Dec. 2008) Forms dense mats - interferes with water recreation Can spread from small fragments Eurasian Water-milfoil -feathery underwater aquatic plant that can form thick mats in shallow areas of lakes and rivers -crowds out native plants, interferes with recreation -can reproduce via small stem fragments, so can spread easily and over long distances -control is very expensive and eradication is virtually impossible

13 Eurasian Water-milfoil Distribution
[Insert specific numbers for county here.]

14 Purple Loosestrife Linda Wilson, University of Idaho, Imported from Europe for gardens (late 1800s), also seeds in ballast water Crowds out native wetland species Spreads rapidly: >1 million seeds annually, plus vegetative spread Purple Loosestrife -invasive perennial wetland plant 3-7 feet tall with purple flower spikes -crowds out native wetland plants, reducing food and habitat for native wildlife -spreading at a rate of close to 300,000 acres per year -widely dispersed—found in all WI counties, but largest populations in southeastern part of state, Wisconsin River, and Wolf & Fox drainage systems

15 Purple Loosestrife Distribution
Purple loosestrife is now found in every county in WI. While this map is based on older data, it still accurately represents the hot spots where purple loosestrife is found in larger numbers and where there are fewer plants present.

16 Rusty Crayfish Brought to WI as bait 1960’s
In 445 inland lakes and streams (Dec. 2008) Severely reduce aquatic vegetation, impacting spawning Aggressive; compete with native crayfish and fish for cover and food Rusty crayfish – Introduced into WI by anglers using the crayfish as bait in the 1960s Rusty crayfish are quite well spread throughout WI – inhabits many inland streams Are extremely messy eaters. They act like mini-lawnmowers, snipping away at vegetation. As a result, are often helpful in spreading aquatic invasives plants such as Eurasian water-milfoil that spreads via fragmentation. Also have aggressive personalities. Many anglers tell stories of pulling up fishing lines with rusty crayfish attached that are full of attitude. Rustys act this way towards native crayfish and fish as well. They compete with these native species for food and cover. Fun ID tip! One way you can identify a rusty crayfish is by the dark, rust-colored spot on each side of the carapace. It looks as if someone had dark paint on their fingers and then picked up the crayfish. While most rustys will have these characteristic spots, how dark and evident the spots are will vary from crayfish to crayfish. ID tip: Dark, rusty spot on each side of carapace. [Insert specific numbers for county here.]

17 Rusty Crayfish Distribution
[Insert specific numbers for county here.] While this map is based on older data, it still accurately represents the hot spots where purple loosestrife is found in larger numbers and where there are fewer plants present.

18 Curly-leaf Pondweed Accidentally introduced as aquarium plant (1880s)
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Accidentally introduced as aquarium plant (1880s) Fairly widespread – in 277 water bodies (Dec. 2008) Active very early in growing season – even under ice Can form dense mats, interfering with recreation and native plants Curly-leaf pondweed - Native to Eurasia, Africa, & Australia Introduced by hobbyists as plant to use in aquariums Begins growing earlier than many other aquatic plants. New plants form under the ice in winter, making it one of the first invasive aquatic plants to emerge in spring. By getting a head start in the spring, it can outcompete other plants. Prefers soft substrates and shallow water depths Mainly spreads using burr-like winter buds called turions. Can form dense mats on surface of lake that can interfere with recreation. In mid-summer, when most other plants are growing, curly-leaf dies off. The die off can result in a loss of dissolved-oxygen and can increase nutrients that contribute to algal blooms.

19 Curly-leaf Pondweed Distribution
[Insert specific numbers for county here.]

20 Spiny & Fishhook Waterfleas
Ballast water introduction to Great Lakes in 1980s Found in two inland WI lakes—Gile Flowage (Iron Co.) & Stormy Lake (Vilas Co.) Disrupt food chain & harm native fish Foul fishing gear—form gummy clumps Spiny Waterflea -important one to be aware of—still early enough to catch it and slow/stop spread—only found in one WI inland lake -tiny crustacean predators -disrupt food chain -not palatable to young fish—spine gets caught in gullet -collect in masses and foul fishing lines and equipment

21 Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
Documented in Lake Winnebago, Lake Michigan, & Green Bay Can kill more than 25 fish species No danger to humans Introduced by ballast water or migrating fish - ? VHS was found in European freshwater trout dating back to the 1930s. The fish virus was diagnosed for the first time ever in Great Lakes freshwater fish in 2005. There are more than 25 fish species that it can kill, but there is no danger to humans who handle or eat a fish that has VHS. This is first time a fish has affect so many different species of fish. No one is sure how the virus arrived in WI. It may have been introduced by fish migrating from the Atlantic Coast or in the ballast water of ocean-going ships.

22 Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
Transmission: Virus shed in urine & reproductive fluids Virus particles infect the gills and then move to internal organs, muscles, and skin Transmission also occurs when a fish eats an infected fish Fish infected with VHS shed the virus in their urine, milt, and ovarian fluids. Once in the water, the virus can survive for at least 14 days. Virus particles affect the gill tissue first, then move to organs and blood vessels. Fish can also be infected by VHS when they eat a fish that has the virus.

23 Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
The Disease: Start shedding virus 2 days after infected Antibodies can be developed by fish Fish may or may not show clinical signs of virus Blood vessels then become weak, causing hemorrhaging. Fish that survive the infection will produce antibodies against VHS. These antibodies will protect the fish from future VHS infections for some time. But, the level of antibodies in the fish will eventually drop, and the fish may start shedding the virus again, creating a cycle of fish kills.

24 Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
Clinical signs: pop-eye, anemia, swollen internal organs - usually fatal Most infected fish die at °F, but rarely above 59 °F Stress is important (spawning and handling) The virus grows best in fish when water temperatures are °F. Most infected fish die at those temperatures, but rarely die when temperatures were above 59 °F. Stress plays an important role in the fatality of VHS. Stress suppresses the immune system, causing infected fish to become diseased. Spawning, handling, & lack of food are all examples of stressors.

25 VHS Distribution (as of Oct. 2007)
This map indicates where testing has been done for VHS. The red dots on this map are the only things you really need to pick out – they represent where the virus has been found.

26 Rules and Regulations: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
May not move live fish or fish eggs from affected waters EXCEPT for minnows purchased from WI bait dealer Must drain all water from boats and equipment; can transport live minnows in 2 gal. water May use dead fish or fish eggs for bait in some instances The following new laws apply to all anglers and boaters in Wisconsin: -You must drain all water from boats, containers and fishing equipment when leaving any state waters, banks or shores, or entering Wisconsin over land. This does not apply to any drinking water or up to 2 gallons of water being used to hold minnows that can be legally transported. -You may not transport any live fish or live fish eggs away from any state waters. There is an exception for minnows obtained from a Wisconsin bait dealer. These minnows may be transported away live and used again: On the same water, or On any other waters if no lake or river water, or other fish were added to their container. -You may not use dead fish, fish eggs, or fish parts as bait. There are three exceptions: You may use dead fish, fish eggs, or fish parts as bait on any waters if they or were preserved by a method that does not require freezing or refrigeration, You may use unpreserved or just frozen dead fish, fish eggs or fish parts as bait on the water from which they were collected or on Lake Michigan or Green Bay (and connecting waters upstream to the first barrier impassible to fish), or Live minnows that die during a fishing trip may be used during that fishing trip (they may not be used on later trips unless you meet the two conditions above). -You may not possess or use minnows for bait that are obtained outside of Wisconsin. This does not apply if the minnows were imported under a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) permit, or if they were obtained from Iowa or Minnesota and are being used only “between the tracks” on the Mississippi River.

27 Many More in Wisconsin…
Round Goby Rainbow Smelt These are only a few of the aquatic invaders causing problems in WI. Many other species of fish, plants, and invertebrates are present in WI lakes. Problematic species differ from lake to lake and region to region. It’s important to have a good understanding of which species are in your lake and surrounding lakes—helps focus control and prevention efforts. Check with local DNR staff or other experts to find out which species are in your area. Ruffe Mystery Snails

28 And Many More on the Way…
A few future threats: New Zealand mud snail Water hyacinth Unfortunately, species move around rapidly in our global economy and society, and new invaders are always appearing on our borders. Hydrilla, water hyacinth and Asian carp are only a few of the invasive species that are moving toward Wisconsin. The constant flow of new invasive species highlights the importance of prevention techniques to keep them out of our waters. Northern Snakehead Asian carp Photo: John Lyons

29 Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program
Education & Outreach Statewide coordination Publications & boat launch signs Displays & presentations Media Contact: Julia Solomon Christal Campbell DNR has many efforts underway to prevent and control the spread of aquatic invasive species. Next few slides will highlight different elements of the program. Education & Outreach -partnership with DNR, UW Extension, Wisconsin Association of Lakes, and UW Sea Grant -working with citizens and resource professionals to teach boaters, anglers and other water users how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species -many resources and educational tools available—publications, signs, displays, presentations, etc -also working with other audiences with the potential to introduce/spread species—aquarium & pet trade, water gardeners

30 Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program
Watercraft Inspection DNR inspection program places staff at high-traffic boat landings ‘Clean Boats, Clean Waters’ trains volunteers to monitor landings and educate boaters Contact: Erin Henegar Watercraft Inspection Purpose of program is to have trained personnel at landings educating boaters about aquatic invasive species and helping inspect watercraft entering and leaving lakes Statewide watercraft inspection program has several components that span a spectrum from paid DNR staff to local citizen volunteers. On one end of the spectrum, DNR hires ~20 seasonal staff to staff boat landings on busy lakes and waters with high-priority invasives. For , each DNR region also has a couple of Water Guards, who conduct watercraft inspections and have law enforcement credentials. This allows them to not only share information with boaters and anglers, but also enforce WI’s AIS regulations if needed. On the other end of the spectrum, the Clean Boats Clean Waters program trains citizen volunteers to work at landings on their local lakes. These are often lakes that are currently free of invasives that people want to protect. In between there are several creative arrangements—contracts with UW Sea Grant and UW colleges, paid “volunteers” hired through DNR grants—goal is to get people at as many boat landings as possible.

31 Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program
Volunteer Monitoring Volunteers collect data on lake health including aquatic invasives Data used to map extent of spread for species Contact: Laura Herman Volunteer Monitoring As with watercraft inspection, both DNR staff and volunteers monitor lakes for invasive species—staff monitor for spiny waterfleas and zebra mussel larvae. Volunteers monitor for adult zebra mussels, invasive plants, rusty crayfish and invasive snails. Data collected by volunteers are very important in tracking and mapping the spread of invasive species.

32 Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program
Purple Loosestrife Biological Control Volunteers help raise & release beetles Beetles available for free—great school or family project Contact: Brock Woods Paul Skawinski Galerucella calmariensis Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol -Partnership between DNR and UW Extension -citizen based project uses safe, highly tested beetles that feed on purple loosestrife to control populations -two types of beetles – weevils and two species of leaf-eating beetles (one pictured in slide) -volunteers can raise and release beetles into local wetlands -a great success story—one of our only examples of long-term non-chemical control, and great way for citizens to get involved

33 Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program
AIS Grants $4.3 million available each year State funds up to 75% of project Local governments no longer given priority Match includes cash, volunteer time, services, etc. Funds provided as reimbursement AIS Grants -Local efforts are a vital part of many of the state programs for aquatic invasives -DNR grants to local entities are a way for the state to support those local initiatives -State will cover up to 50% of cost of project (may go up to 75% after state budget is approved) -By law, applications from local units of government are given priority. Some other types of organizations (qualified lake associations, school districts, etc) are also eligible. Or, can have a local government sponsor your application. -50% match can initially be scary, but remember that volunteer hours can be used as in-kind donations toward that match -Funds are not provided up front—they are provided as a reimbursement with proper documentation Contact: Regional Lake Coordinator [insert name & phone number]

34 Aquatic Invasive Species Grants
Three grant categories Education, Prevention & Planning Early Detection & Rapid Response Control of Established Infestations AIS grants are awarded in three categories. Each is discussed in greater detail in the next few slides.

35 Education, Prevention & Planning
Deadlines February 1 & August 1 Up to $200,000 Example projects: Watercraft inspections Surveys and monitoring Prevention and control plans Outreach efforts Studies and assessments Goal is to prevent spread of AIS Education, Prevention & Planning -Volunteer projects like Clean Boats Clean Waters would fall in this category -Most activities that are not direct control of aquatic invasive species fall in this category -Some examples of the types of projects that are eligible… (see slide) -Goal of program is preventing the spread of AIS

36 Early Detection & Rapid Response
Rolling applications—no deadline Up to $20,000 New pioneer stands Coordination with DNR required—permits needed for chemical treatment Goal is containment Early Detection & Rapid Response -Unique program—designed to make money available quickly for time-sensitive situations -Designed for pioneer stands, new colonies, etc. (Established populations that have recently been discovered do not fall in this category.) -Close contact with DNR is essential. Get in touch right away if you find something that you think would qualify for this type of grant. -Set amount is set aside for this category each year and is given out on a first come, first served basis -Goal is containment (or eradication, but this is usually not realistic)

37 Controlling Established Infestations
Deadlines February 1 and August 1 Up to $200,000 Management of non-pioneer populations Must be part of DNR-approved plan Goal is long-term population reduction Controlling Established Infestations -Any treatment or removal for non-pioneer stands would fall in this category -Purple loosestrife biocontrol projects fall in this category (also all aquatic plant management) -Work with DNR to make sure plans are approved and all permit requirements are met -Goal is long-term reduction of AIS population and restoration of native system

38 AIS Grant Tips Good… Multiple-lake benefit Ecological improvement
Long-term focus Community support Bad… Short-term nuisance control Routine maintenance Dredging AIS Grant Tips The AIS grants process is competitive, and applications will fare better if they follow guidelines. Some activities such as dredging or repeated treatment of the same area are not eligible. Among eligible activities, DNR likes to see evidence of a comprehensive strategy that has community support and a long-range plan for ecological improvement. DNR grant specialists can help applicants shape projects that are likely to be competitive.

39 Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program
Research UW Madison Center for Limnology developing “Smart Prevention” model Model helps DNR make strategic management decisions Contact: Jake Vander Zanden Research DNR provides a small amount of funding to the UW Madison Center for Limnology to understand movement of aquatic invasive species Goal is being able to direct prevention and management resources efficiently Model is based on three questions: “Can invader X reach this water body?” “If yes, can it survive and thrive there?” “If yes, will it impact native species and recreation?”

40 Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program
Rules to Prevent Spread Illegal to launch a boat known to have aquatic plants or animals attached Restrictions on use and transport of some AIS species Law was passed in 2002—illegal to launch boat, trailer or boating equipment with aquatic plants attached. Awareness of rule is generally high at this point. Can be enforced by conservation wardens or local law enforcement officers. If watercraft inspectors see and properly document a violation, they can write a report which law enforcement personnel will follow up on.

41 Laws and Regulations Federal State Local National Invasive Species Act
Coast Guard is responsible for regulating ballast water management NOBOB Federal Noxious Weed Regulations Defines noxious weeds and restricts their movement Federal State Local 2001 Wisconsin Act 109 Established Invasive Species Council Illegal to launch laws – WI Statute VHS Regulations 2008 Restrictions on bait use & fish & water transport Here is a quick summary of laws and regulations in nation and state regarding AIS. Several WI counties have now enacted their own ordinances against the transport of AIS. The state is aware of the need for a more comprehensive AIS transport law, and it’s likely that not too far into the future WI will have one in place. Noxious Weed Ordinances County AIS Transport Ordinances ‘07-’08

42 Any other questions?

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