Strategic plan targets invasive speciesDouglas County’s Land Conservation Committee is forwarding a plan to the county board that takes aim at invasive species.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Douglas County’s Land Conservation Committee is forwarding a plan to the county board that takes aim at invasive species.
Developed with the help of a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the plan is the result of efforts of a working group of people with experience in working with aquatic invasive species.
“We really felt they did represent the Lake Superior and St. Croix basins equally,” said Amy Eliot of Lake Superior Research Institute, who led the effort and is writing the draft strategic plan to be presented to the board next month.
After identifying the county’s priorities for controlling the spread of aquatic invasive species, the group began to develop the plan for addressing the problem. One more meeting is scheduled before the plan will be presented to the county board.
The plan calls for a coordinator who would implement the plan and a technician who would handle the scientific aspects of the program working together; however, the bulk of the plan could be implemented without the scientific component of the program, which could be costly, Eliot said
“The goals of the county are pretty basic, but they’re also pretty succinct,” Eliot said. “They either want to prevent any spreading of existing [aquatic invasive species] in the county or introducing any new AIS in the county.
Among the primary goals are education and communication, municipal and county, and interdepartmental cooperation and funding for necessary activities.
The working group came up with 10 objectives that included watercraft inspection, education at the landings to contain the problem, monitoring and control, and assistance with rapid response in the event invasive species are found.
“That piece ends up being expensive in the control part,” Eliot said.
Among the things that should help is a new state law that prohibits the transport of a broad array of invasive species. Gov. Jim Doyle signed the bill written by Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Nick Milroy, D-Superior, into law last month.
The key to that helping solve the problem is enforcement, said Kay McKenzie, Land Conservation Committee chairwoman.
Eliot said a huge component of the county’s strategy to combat invasive species in inland lakes will be education. She said the group was most interested in a watercraft inspection program, monitoring and finding assistance with rapid response.
The plan would help fund a person to accomplish most of those goals, Eliot said.
“It’s a smashing plan, and it’s really well done,” said Sue Hendrickson, a member of the committee.