A new statewide strategic plan will help guide Wisconsin state agencies and partners in responding to the threat of invasive species to the state’s ecosystems, recreation, and economy.

Translating that plan into action will be the topic of a May 23 summit in Madison that will bring together government agencies, conservation groups, businesses and interested individuals.

The strategic plan was developed by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council, which includes representatives from state agencies and seven private members from industry, the university system, and nongovernmental organizations.

The plan provides an overarching strategy that individual agency and partner plans can draw from and that supports successful ongoing work in Wisconsin, according to Paul Schumacher, council chair and a member of Wisconsin Lakes, from Door County.

“With the plan finalized, it is now time to move toward implementation,” Schumacher says. “We invite agency, industry, academic, and nonprofit partners to join in on this dialogue. Our goal is to develop a shared vision on how the strategic plan can be used to enhance invasive species efforts in Wisconsin.”

“Everyone has an interest in finding solutions. The reason for holding a workday to create an implementation plan is to turn those solutions into actions to prevent the spread of invasive species,” says Mindy Wilkinson, invasive species project coordinator at the Department of Natural Resources. “Invasive species threaten our native plants and animals, our agriculture, tourism and forestry industries, recreation, and quality of life.”

The plan, executive summary and appendices can be found on the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council website under “Strategic Plan.” The plan sets five top priorities for Wisconsin:

  • Improve education and outreach about the impacts of invasive species and what citizens and lawmakers can do to make a difference.
  • Prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species through new and existing pathways.
  • Improve detection of invasive species by growing networks of partners, supporting the use of information technology, and leveraging current research.
  • Create a dedicated fund for rapid response to new invasive species in Wisconsin.
  • Secure adequate long-term funding to control established invasive species including coordinated, competitive aid to support local actions and partnerships.

The Council’s “Implementation Summit” is set for May 23, 2013 at the Pyle Center in Madison and will include an overview of the plan, a panel discussion, and afternoon breakout sessions for participants to develop implementation plans for the core areas of the strategic plan.

To register for the Implementation Summit please contact Mindy Wilkinson, DNR’s invasive species coordinator, at invasive.species@wisconsin.gov, or 608-266-6437.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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