invasive species

You might have a curious plant in your yard or something by your lake home which looks wierd. Several Northwoods agencies are hosting an Invasive Species ID Day at various locations.

Vilas County Invasive Species Coordinator Cathy Higley says the public can bring in anything to be examined by an invasive species specialist...

"....if you're wondering, 'what is this?', you can bring it to one of those locations. We'll help ID it and give some background information on how it can affect your property or your lake...."

Invasive Faucet snails have been discovered in Elton Creek in Langlade county and the DNR hopes stream users help keep the critter from spreading.

DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Bob Wakeman say the Faucet snails out-compete native snails. While some people might think this is a small problem, Wakeman says the snails could mean bigger problems for other species...

While county and state workers have been busy fighting land based invasive species, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is also active in stopping the spread on its 1.5 million acres in Wisconsin.

Biologist Marjory Brzeskiewicz says they've had a plan in place for years to stop the common land invasives...

".....some of the big ones that affect the Northwoods  are garlic mustard, buckthorn, honeysuckle. We don't have quite the problems as they do down south where there are more open, prairie-type species...."

UW Arboretum

Another in a long line of invasive pests with Asian origins is likely coming to the Northwoods.

Oneida County invasive species specialist Jean Hansen says the Jumping Worm, a native of Japan and Korea threatens woods and fields and has been found or suspected in parts of Wisconsin. She says the DNR is trying to alert gardeners and property owners about the worm which looks a little like the common earthworm with a tan band around its torso..


Vilas county's long-time Invasive Species Coordinator will be retiring next month and he says while progress has been made in fighting invasives, challenges remain.

Ted Ritter has been at the job for a little over 10 years. He says the majority of his job evolves around aquatic invasives. He says since 2004, the public knowledge of aquatic invasives has grown dramatically....

"...I'm happy to say after 10 years, public awareness of aquatic invasive species is now up through the roof and climbing...

For the first time, the possibility of preventing invasive species from entering into Wisconsin has been approved. The Natural Resources Board voted to approve revisions to the state's invasive species rule known  as NR40. The revisions include listing of additional species and delisting of currently regulated species under the state's Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control rule.

The state Natural Resources Board will decide Wednesday on revisions to the state's invasive species rule..
Vilas County's Invasive Species Coordinator Ted Ritter says the changes in both the land and water invasive rules have been talked about for a long time. Dozens of species are being categorized. Ritter says one plant has drawn attention....


The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Rhinelander.  That makes Oneida County the 38th county in Wisconsin to go under quarantine for movement of firewood.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the borer was found at James Williams Middle School, in a trap set by a USDA monitoring program. 

Spokesperson Donna Gilson says it appears the infestation was found early.

Colin Smith / Trout Lake Station

A new way of combating invasive smelt is meeting with mixed success – literally – at the end of a two-year study.  The Crystal Lake Mixing Project was able to get rid of most of the smelt in Crystal Lake…but not all of it.

The mixing project began two years ago at the University of Wisconsin Madison’s Trout Lake Station.  Its main goal was to stir up the layers of Crystal Lake, warming the bottom and making it inhospitable for cold-water-loving smelt, which were harming native populations of walleye and yellow perch.

Stefan Czapski /

Three Lakes has completed a detailed survey of terrestrial invasive species in the town. 

The data was collected by one individual: Baerbel Ehrig walked and biked 260 miles in Three Lakes last year…on both sides of each and every town road. 

Ehrig explains the purpose is to better understand which invasives are present on a local level, and how many of them there are.  And roads are a good place to start. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Kids at Rhinelander schools celebrated winning awards in an aquatic invasive species poster contest Wednesday.  The contest spans nine Northwoods counties…and asks kids to design a poster and slogan that spreads awareness of aquatic invasives.  

Central Intermediate School fourth grade students Reagan Hartman and Elise Tesch took first and second place in their division. 

“Well I drew a boat…and I wrote stop and pick off invasive species," Hartman explained.

Groups are meeting next month to try to stop the spread of invasive land plants in the Northwoods.

The Wisconsin Headwaters Invasive Partnership is hosting an open-to-the public meeting at Trees for Tomorrow in Eagle River.

Jack W. Pearce

It’s still the middle of winter - but for some gardeners it’s not too early to look ahead to spring.  

The Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department runs a program to promote native plants for gardens and yards.  The program includes a mid-winter sale, where gardeners can pre-order native varieties for pick-up in May or June.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke to the department’s Heather Palmquist about the native plants program.  

Palmquist says native plants are well-suited for Northwoods growing conditions. 


State foresters are set to begin a three-year timber management project in the Laona School Forest.  DNR officials and Laona students gathered Wednesday to kick off the project. 

DNR Forestry Supervisor Craig Williams says the project will benefit forest health. He says some of the trees in the oldest school forest in the country are aging, and are being affected by invasive buckthorn.

Another invasive plant is threatening the shorelines of our northern waters...a plant that has taken over large stretches of Lake Michigan and Green Bay shores. 

It's called phragmites. Ken Krall spoke with Vilas County invasive species coordinator Ted Ritter about the threat from the tall plant that's very aggressive...