MADISON - After 15 years, Invasive Species Awareness Month is getting a new name and focus: Wisconsin Invasive Species Action Month.
"Now that many Wisconsin residents and visitors are aware of the problems with invasive species, the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council has changed the name and focus of the month to move people from awareness to action," says Tom Buechel, the council's chair.
Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that can cause ecological, environmental, or economic harm. Some can affect human health. Emerald ash borer, quagga mussel, buckthorn, reed canary grass, oak wilt disease, gypsy moth, garlic mustard and purple loosestrife are all examples.
"Once an invasive species gets established, it can be extremely difficult to control, so the most important action Wisconsinites can take is to avoid moving invasive species to un-infested sites in Wisconsin and to other states," says Drew Feldkirchner, who leads DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program, which coordinates DNR invasive species efforts.
To prevent accidentally spreading emerald ash borer, oak wilt and gypsy moth, campers and recreationists should obtain firewood locally, and buy only firewood certified as safe by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection or by USDA. Learn more on DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "firewood."
Anglers and boaters can help protect lakes and rivers by cleaning recreational equipment after every use and draining all water from gear before leaving a site. If possible, wash gear with hot water and dry it for five or more days between uses. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "aquatic invasive species."
Gardeners and landscapers can prevent spreading invasive species by planting and promoting only native plants or non-native plants that don't expand beyond the garden or seed into other areas.
For more information visit the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin website at www.ipaw.org.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR