Attempts to control invasive species can pose a challengeIn most people’s mind, the term “invasive species” conjures up the image of an alien being, be it plant or animal, forcing itself into an area where it is not welcome with its prime objective to displace the local resident population.
By: By Mike Reiter, New Richmond News
In most people’s mind, the term “invasive species” conjures up the image of an alien being, be it plant or animal, forcing itself into an area where it is not welcome with its prime objective to displace the local resident population.
Many science fiction books and movies are based on a similar concept. In a fantasy world, with a happy ending, the invaders are defeated and completely eliminated allowing the world to return to the way it was before the invasion. In the natural world this is not the case.
Natural invaders are opportunistic, adaptable organisms that are doing what they do best, which is to compete in a very competitive world. It is natural selection on steroids.
An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. Our preventive measures in most cases will only slow or modify the advance of the aliens, however. We need to plan ahead and look at the total picture. What can we do when they get here? What can we do with the ones that are already here? How can we optimize the situation and make the most out of it?
Knowing where we stand in relationship to the invading force is a good start. A case in point is the emerald ash borer infestation that is moving toward this area.
The purple traps that one sees in ash trees locally are an effort to monitor their advance. Some towns have already started to assess the damage they will do when they arrive and are cutting some of the marginal ash trees, replacing them with a diverse selection of other types of trees. Too many of the same species in plantings is an invitation to disaster. We have already seen where concentrated stands of elm, oak and chestnut can lead. Many of the aliens are species specific and will only key on one type.
Once an invader is established, total elimination is out of the question but concentrated efforts on a localized area will give real positive results. Buckthorn infestations are widespread but control can be achieved with a focused effort on a defined area. A 40- or 80-acre section can be identified and buckthorn eradication can be achieved with persistent effort and follow up monitoring. There are many instances where identified infestations, both terrestrial and aquatic, can be controlled in this manner.
Finding ways to optimize and use the invasive organism once it becomes a part of the landscape can also lessen the negative impact it may have. Can a market be created for it? Many creative ideas have been put forth and many more will be needed.
Harvest of the invasive for commercial or home use has many possibilities. Livestock forage, biomass ethanol generation or fertilizer production could be a viable means to make lemonade out of lemons. A source of valuable protein for animal or human consumption could be a potential use of other alien intruders. The common carp already here and the other alien carp at our door step could perhaps pose a valuable resource to some enterprising individual or group.
Rusty crawfish have steadily moved up from the south, displacing many of our native species and greatly impacting our waters. The Willow River has a large number of these crawfish present. A new business has been started in North Hudson that provides a quality food product utilizing these crustaceans. At a recent St. Croix County Alliance meeting, I had an opportunity to sample these delectable boiled creatures and found them comparable to anything I had encountered on a few trips to the crawfish capital in New Orleans. For those interested, the name of the company is M&J Crawfish and can be reached at 715-441-1827.
We have to look at the invasive in a different manner to get a true perspective of their potential impact to us and our environment. An understanding of what they are and why they behave the way they do is extremely important in their control. If one looks back 10,000 years ago when the region was covered with a mile of glacial ice and there was no life living or growing here, everything we have now and consider a native species is in reality, an invasive.
Warden Paul’s Corner
New Boating Law
Boating laws in Wisconsin are designed to make lakes safer while protecting shorelines and improving water quality. A relatively new law prohibits boaters from operating their boats at speeds greater than slow-no-wake within 100 feet of lake shorelines. The law applies to all lakes, including the lake areas of flowages.
Moreover, boats operating in shallow waters often churn up sediment and chop up vegetation, decreasing water quality, and potentially spreading invasive aquatic species like Eurasian water-milfoil. Slowing these boats will reduce this problem. In addition, eliminating near shore wakes will reduce shoreline erosion.
This change is in addition to current law which already prohibits boaters on lakes from operating at speeds greater than slow-no-wake within 100 feet of docks, rafts, piers and buoyed restricted areas.
Personal watercraft (PWC) operators must also follow these laws in addition to speed restrictions that apply specifically to PWCs. PWC operators cannot operate at a speed greater than slow-no-wake within 200 feet of the shoreline of any lake. They also are required to cut back to slow-no-wake speed when passing within 100 feet of other boats, including other PWCs. This law applies to both rivers and lakes.
Slow-no-wake is defined as the minimum speed required to maintain steerage. Speed violations are the primary source of boating complaints in the summer. Speed is also a frequent cause of boat crashes, especially at night.
People operating boats at night need to slow down to avoid colliding with people, boats or structures lawfully on the water. Running lights are required from sunset to sunrise.
When on unfamiliar waters, boaters are responsible for knowing all the rules. This means checking at boat ramps for local ordinances that might further regulate boating on that body of water.
With summer a blaze recently, many people will take to the waters to cool off. Boaters and anglers need to respect the water body they recreate on as unexpected events can and do occur.
The operator of every boat must supply a wearable PFD for every person on board the boat and they must be readily accessible. That PFD must be of the proper size and type for each person on board the boat. All PFD’s must be Coast Guard approved and in serviceable condition with no rips, tears or any damage. Damaged PFD’s are very unsafe and will not keep someone afloat in an emergency.
In addition, all boats 16’ feet long and longer, except canoes and kayaks, must have at least one type IV PFD, which is a throwable seat cushion or ring buoy. This type IV PFD must be immediately available, that is, within reach of someone on deck while the boat is underway.
For any questions call Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914, ext. 120. Have a safe and fun boating season.