Minnesota and Wisconsin have come together for the first time to share resources and information about invasive species in the region. A three day conference got under way in St. Paul this week, with organizers expecting up to 600 people from agencies and organizations in both states. The focus of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Invasive Species Conference, November 8-10, is to strengthen awareness about invasive species issues, prevention, and management, addressing both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. The conference is being co-hosted by the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council, the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin, the Midwest Invasive Plant Network, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society – Minnesota Chapter.
Invasive species have been making headlines recently; Asian Carp DNA has been found in Lake Michigan, stoking fears that the voracious fish could destroy the estimated 7 billion Great Lakes commercial and sport-fishing industries. And in January, Cornell University researchers reported that VHS, a deadly fish-killing virus, had been found in Lake Superior for the first time. According to the Minnesota DNR, the state’s natural resources are also threatened by invasive species such as the zebra mussel, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, gypsy moth, and garlic mustard. Combating the spread of these and other invasive species depends in large part on cooperation from the public and there are ongoing campaigns to educate boaters, campers, and others on ways to avoid spreading invasive species. To learn more, visit the Minnesota DNR website