Our native landscape is our home, the little world we live in, where we are born and where we play, where we grow up, and finally where we are… laid to eternal rest. It speaks of the distant past and carries our life in the tomorrow. To keep this pure and unadulterated is a sacred heritage and noble task of the highest cultural value.
— Jens Jensen, landscape architect, 1860-1951
Invasive species, both animal and vegetative, are becoming an increasingly large problem in the United States. Nationally, billions of dollars are spent every year by private landowners, municipalities, non-profits and state agencies to control the spread of these species. In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources alone spent approximately $11 million to control invasive species in 2013 (WDNR Invasive Species Report, 2013).
Two examples of recent invasive species issues are the attempts to prevent Asian carp from becoming established in the Upper Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, and the infestation of Phragmites on the south and west shores of Green Bay. Those of us who enjoy camping know firsthand how the State Park System rules have changed in the last several years in regard to firewood and the spread of the emerald ash borer.
Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.
The Wisconsin Legislature established “the Invasive Species Rule” in 2009, making it “illegal to possess, transport, transfer or introduce certain invasive species in Wisconsin without a permit” (Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 40). A list of regulated species can be found at the WDNR’s website. Additionally, in 2013 the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council created a statewide strategic plan for 2013-2016, highlighting objectives and goals to guide stakeholders in the process of establishing invasive species control plans.
If you are interested in helping with these efforts, please contact your local Prairie Enthusiasts chapter or The Nature Conservancy for more information. In addition, other local organizations such as Wild Ones, Pheasants Forever and State Parks “Friends” groups provide educational opportunities and other volunteer events. You can also contact any one of our ecologists at R.A. Smith National.