Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Preventing spread of aquatic invasive species focus of annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention

GREEN BAY – The annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention in Green Bay March 18-20 offers lake enthusiasts an unparalleled opportunity to learn about keeping their favorite lakes free of what many regard as their number one nemesis: aquatic invasive species, says a conference organizer.

“We’ve brought together international experts to discuss education, management techniques, research and policy concerning aquatic invasive species and we’re offering the hands-on training to help people put those insights into practice on their favorite lakes,” says Kim Becken, conference organizer and the University of Wisconsin Extension lakes outreach specialist.

“This is a spectacular opportunity to engage people in the one issue that prompts 90 percent of the calls we get to our office.”

Dr. Anthony Ricciardi, a world renowned aquatic species expert from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, will give the keynote address, highlighting how the peculiar interactions between an introduced species and its new environment can make it difficult to accurately predict where a particular invader will flourish or its impacts.

Dr. David Lodge, Director of the Center for Aquatic Conservation at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss preventing the spread of invasive species by commercial vessels in the Great Lakes, and by recreational boats among inland lakes.

Other key speakers on aquatic invasive species topics include Mike Staggs, the DNR fisheries director, who will talk about a serious new fish disease, viral hemorrhagic septicemia or VHS, found in Wisconsin for the first time in 2007; Dr. Jake Vander Zanden, Associate Professor of Zoology and Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dr. Jennifer Hauxwell, Chief of the DNR Aquatic Research Program; Kristine Maki, the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the Sawyer County Land and Water Conservation Department, and Dr. Phil Moy, Fisheries and Nonindigenous Species Specialist for the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

More lake topics are on tap as well for workshops on March 18 and 20, with hands-on training and discussion on lake ecology, interpreting and using lake data, working with local partners for lake protection and running a more effective lake group, among the offerings.

The lakes convention is set for the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. It is sponsored by the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, comprised of DNR, the Wisconsin Association of Lakes and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

People can attend all three days of the conference or just one or two. For more information on the convention or to register, go to www.uwsp.edu/cnr/uwexlakes/conventions (exit DNR) or contact UW-Extension Lakes at (715) 346-2116.

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