Bret Shaw, UW-Extension Environmental Communication Specialist
Department of Life Sciences Communication
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Keeping our lakes and rivers clear of invasive species this week with Bret Shaw.
3:03 – Total Time
0:19 – What’s at stake
0:38 – Which species are concerning
1:00 – What’s being done to prevent spread
1:45 – How boaters are responding
2:10 – New efforts to stop spread of invasive species
2:55 – Lead out
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Wisconsin Voters take a role in preventing the spread of invasive species. We’re visiting today with Bret Shaw, Department of Life Science Communication, University of Wisconsin Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison Wisconsin, and I am Sevie Kenyon. Bret, can you tell us what is at stake with the spread of these invasive species?
So there is a whole variety of reasons, from biodiversity to tourism to economics that strongly suggest that we want to stop the spread of these aquatic invasive species. If we don’t stop them, once they are infested in the lakes, they are very hard to get rid of.
Can you tell us a little about the invasive species we are talking about?
Well there are a few that a lot of people think about. On the plant side, it’s eurasian water milfoil and curly leaf pond weed. Some of the main ones people think about too are zebra mussels and the asian carp. There are a lot of different kinds of aquatic invasive species.
Bret can you give us an idea of what has been in place to try and prevent this spread?
One is at the University of Wisconin-Stevens Point. They have worked to create a lot of volunteers that will actually go down to the boat landings when the folks are coming out of the lake and talk to people, saying “Hey, I’m not sure if you noticed, but you didn’t empty your live well,” or “You have extra plants hanging off of your boat.” There was a big investment last year on improving both the messaging and the size of landing signs, and what we found in our research is that people really noticed once the state invested more money in the signs. Right now, by the boat landing, people’s behaviors really did appear to improve.
Bret, you have done some surveys of how boaters are responding to this challenge. Can you outline that for us?
So what we are finding across the board is that people are improving. In the case of some behaviors, there is compliance up to the low to mid 90’s, which is fantastic! In other areas, we are also seeing improvements going from 45% to 55%, which is obviously great from the standpoint of watching people’s behaviors improve, but clearly there is still a lot more improvement to go.
What needs to be done in the future?
We are working with different types of businesses that regularly interact with boaters and anglers moving between bodies of water. We are cooperating with bait businesses, fishing clubs, marina owners and fishing guides. The idea there is that those people have a very invested interest in assuring that Wisconsin’s fisheries stay healthy. What we are trying to do is to work with them and provide the kind of tools that they need in order to communicate with their customers. We all share the same basic goal, which is to protect Wisconsin’s lakes and fisheries, and there are a lot of people’s livelihoods that depend on the fishery industry. We want to understand that there is an economic element to this as well.
We have been visiting today with Bret Shaw, Department of Life Science Communication, University of Wisconsin Extension and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison Wisconsin, and I am Sevie Kenyon.