Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June is Invasive Species Awareness Month

Enjoying Wisconsin’s landscape with less impact

MADISON – Every year since 2005, June has been declared Invasive Species Awareness Month in Wisconsin to help raise awareness of the impacts invasive species are having on Wisconsin ecosystems.

“There are increasing concerns over invasive species especially as the costs to combat invasives for citizens, municipalities, non-profit organizations and contractors increase each year in Wisconsin,” says Courtney LeClaire, invasive plant education, early detection and mapping specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Invasive species are found on Wisconsin’s lands and waters and include plants and animals. Most are non-native plants, animals and pathogens that have displaced native species, disrupted ecosystems, and harmed recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and hiking. They also damage commercial, agricultural, and aquacultural resources.

“Invasive Species Awareness Month is a time for people and groups throughout the state hold workshops, work parties, and field trips to raise awareness about invasive species in their areas and things that they can do to make a difference,” LeClaire said.

The theme for 2009 is “Slow the Spread by Sole and Tread,” and is based on efforts to develop Best Management Practices for invasive species geared towards recreational users.
“We want people to feel empowered to take the extra step toward protecting Wisconsin’s legacy,” said Tom Boos, DNR forestry invasive species coordinator.

Steps people can take include:
  • Learn to recognize invasive species.
  • Stay on designated trails, roads, and other developed areas.
  • Clean off shoes, tires, clothes, pets, and gear.
  • Don’t move firewood.
  • Don’t dump bait worms in water or near forests.
  • Volunteer to help control invasive species.
  • Spread the word – help educate others about invasive species.
“Most importantly,” Boos said, “Slow the Spread by Sole and Tread is a notion that can apply all year-round to all aspects of the environment including working in and enjoying it. It is about being aware and responsible of your surroundings and the areas that are close to your heart.”

More information about invasive species and events occurring throughout the state during Invasive Species Awareness month is available on the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species Web site at [www.invasivespecies.wi.gov].

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