Can You Find Wisconsin’s Most (un)Wanted?

Mar 24, 2021 | Aquatic Invasive Species, Citizen Advocacy, Environmental Justice, Members, Newsletters

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 WaterWays newsletter.  Download a PDF of the full Newsletter. By Ellen Voss, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Director

Paddling with Purpose

Every year around this time, my husband and I start making a master list of all the rivers we hope to float, fish, or plop our lawn chairs in during the coming year. And if you’re anything like us, you’ve been daydreaming about getting back on the water ever since you pulled your canoe out of the river for the final time last fall.

As you make your river list, I encourage you to start drafting a “Wisconsin’s Most (un)Wanted” list to bring along when you head out on your water adventures in 2021. Pick 5 or 6 aquatic invasive species (AIS) that are prohibited in Wisconsin, learn their key identifying features, and make it a goal to be able to recognize them by sight.

You can protect the waterways you love by “paddling with a purpose” and keeping an eye out for worrisome invaders!

Luckily, we have resources for both lists!

1. To help you decide which rivers make it on your master list, check out our paddling page for links to some great tools that will help you pick some water: Whether you’re up for a lazy meandering fl oat or challenging whitewater, we have everything from interactive maps to paddling reports and fi rst-hand accounts to help you plan your trip.

2. For your Wisconsin’s Most (un)Wanted list, check out the “species of concern” section of our AIS landing page: You don’t have to memorize every species, but every little bit helps. We’ll be updating this page frequently in the coming months, so be on the lookout for easy ID guides.

If you find something that looks a little suspicious when you’re out recreating, report what you find!

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s website has instructions for what do: You can also report your findings on great apps like Eddmaps and iNaturalist. Create an account, log in, and report what you find. Wisconsin has over 13,000 miles of navigable streams, and agency folks can’t monitor it all. We always need more eyes on the water, and that’s where you come in.

Thank you for all you do to protect Wisconsin’s invaluable water resources!