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GLIN==> Wisconsin - Invasive species classification proposal public meetings in January

Invasive species classification proposed to help prevent spread of
troublesome invaders
Public meetings on proposed rule to be held around state in January
MADISON - A proposal to slow the spread of invasive species
<http://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/>  into Wisconsin by restricting the sale,
planting or release of the most troublesome invaders is the topic of
public informational meetings statewide in January.
The proposal classifies invasive species of plants, animals and
nonagricultural plant pests into four different categories, two of which
would be regulated and two which would not. The two regulated categories
- prohibited and restricted - would make it illegal to import and export
these species, buy, plant or release them, according to Ron Martin, who
leads the Department of Natural Resources invasive species team that is
developing the proposal. 
"There are a number of species that are close to our doorstep, including
kudzu and Asian carp species, and a number of others that are just
starting to get established in the state," Martin says. "We hope a
comprehensive classification system will prevent new introductions of
invasive species from occurring and slow the spread of those already
The informational meetings will offer a chance for the public to learn
more about the classification system proposal, developed to reflect the
recommendations of the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species. These
public input sessions are also aimed at providing the DNR with feedback
to further shape the proposal before it seeks permission from its
policymaking board to conduct formal public hearings, says Kelly Kearns,
a DNR invasive plant specialist involved in developing the proposal. 
"We want to hear from the public whether this classification system
works and if we have the right species in the right categories," Kearns
says. "This is the first time Wisconsin has developed a comprehensive
invasive species law in the state. It should address many of the
shortfalls we see in the current piecemeal approach to our regulations."
Kearns also hopes to hear from the public on those situations in which
people may get permits that would allow them to "use a restricted
species in a way that would not cause problems." 
Invasive species are plants, animals and pests from other regions or
countries that proliferate and have few natural predators or pathogens
in Wisconsin to keep their populations in check here. Invasive species
generally crowd out native species, which in turn harms wildlife that
depends on native species for food and habitat. Invasives also can
interfere with recreation, as Eurasian watermilfoil does when thick mats
of the plant tangle in boat propellers, and they can affect industry and
cost taxpayers and consumers money. For example, buckthorn and
honeysuckle, by preventing forest regeneration, can cause short- and
long-term damage to Wisconsin's $22.6 billion forestry and forest
products industry. 
More than 180 aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, round
gobies and spiny water flea have entered the Great Lakes in the last
century, and more than 130 non-native invasive plants have been
documented in Wisconsin. 
People play a significant role in spreading invasive species, and the
proposed classification system seeks to address the ways by which people
contribute to the purposeful or accidental spread. 
The public informational meetings will all begin at 5:30 p.m. on the
following dates at the locations listed:
*	January 10, Spooner - at the Spooner Agricultural Research
Station, W6646 Hwy 70. 
*	January 11, Rhinelander - (Listening Session Also From 2-4
p.m.), Learning Resources Center Theater, Nicolet College, 5364 College
*	January 14, Madison - UW Arboretum, McKay Center Auditorium,
1207 Seminole Highway. 
*	January 15, Milwaukee - Governor's Room, Tommy Thompson Youth
Center (Gate 5) Wisconsin State Fair Park, 640 South 84th St. 
*	January 16, Green Bay - Brown Co. Central Library, 515 Pine St. 
*	January 17, La Crosse - La Crosse Central High School, Commons
(Room 126), 1801 Losey S. Blvd. 
More information on the meetings and the invasive classification
proposal will be available soon on the DNR Web site. People will also be
able to submit comments on-line or in writing through the Web site or
they may send them to: DNR Invasive Species Team, ER-6, DNR, PO Box
7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Boos (608) 266-9276 or Kelly Kearns
(608) 267-5066