Legislators adopt law targeting invasive species
Invasive species legislation written by Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior, passed the legislature Tuesday evening. The comprehensive legislation strengthens enforcement of restrictions on the transportation of aquatic inv...
Invasive species legislation written by Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior, passed the legislature Tuesday evening. The comprehensive legislation strengthens enforcement of restrictions on the transportation of aquatic invasive species.
"Unchecked spread of aquatic invasive species poses economical and ecological peril to Wisconsin waters and increased enforcement authority is one of the keys to preventing that damage" said Jauch. "This legislation has been long sought by the Wisconsin Association of Lakes who worries that current Wisconsin law inadequately prevents the movement of invasive species from one lake to another. The lack of a statewide law has resulted in a patchwork of regulation. This bill significantly increases our statewide efforts to control the spread of these damaging invasive and exotic species that choke our lakes and waterways."
While it is currently illegal to transport invasive species from lake to lake, the law is ineffective as only conservation wardens can enforce it. Hundreds of citizens volunteer as lake monitors to prevent the spread of invasive species, but many have been frustrated that despite their hard work there is inadequate law enforcement once a boat leaves a landing.
The issue has been on the Superior Days agenda for the last couple years.
The legislation which establishes a statewide enforcement on transportation of invasive species is patterned after a similar law that has had success in Minnesota. The law would give any law enforcement official the authority to remove aquatic animals and plants and issue a citation if there is noncompliance with a removal order. A similar provision in Burnett County resulted in 6 citations in the first year of the ordinance.
"We need to crack down on the spread of exotic species." Milroy said. "This legislation will quickly send a message that not cleaning your boats and trailers is no longer acceptable."