2023 Galerucella Beetle Release - Loon Lake Copper Falls State Park
2023 Galerucella Beetle Release - Loon Lake Copper Falls State Park
Invasive Species
Aurora aquatic invasives

Invasive Species Program


Are you interested in joining the fight against invasive species? Contact the LWCD at the information listed below!

Scott Caven

Land and Water Specialist

Ashland County Land & Water Conservation Department

Phone: (715) 682-7187

E-mail: scott.caven@ashlandcountywi.gov


Preventing, containing, and controlling terrestrial and aquatic invasive species through inventories, control, and education.


 Ashland County Invasive Species Program

Wisconsin is truly a land of waters, boasting more than 15,000 lakes and 5.3 million acres of wetlands. But these precious resources are under attack by exotic species; non-native plants, animals, and pathogens that spread rapidly and out-compete native species. When exotic species take over a new location and alter its ecosystem, they are called invasive species.

So, why should we care? Invasive species are so successful because they lack predators and competitors found in their native ecosystems. This allows them to become prolific breeders and out-compete native species.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) can severely degrade ecosystem function, economic value of ecosystems, economics, aesthetics, human health, and recreational opportunities.

Some AIS reached Wisconsin's waters a long time ago (curly-leaf pondweed) while others are relatively new (red swamp crayfish); some are huge (Asian carp) while others are small (viral hemorrhagic septicemia); some are rooted (Eurasian watermilfoil) and some are able to swim (ruffe). Regardless of their characteristics, it is critical that we all work together to prevent, contain, and control aquatic invasive species.


Ashland County Invasive Species Program:

"In the News"


  Become a Waterway Protector

Ashland County is committed to protecting its most precious natural resources: inland lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and of course, Lake Superior!

Here are some of the various Aquatic Invasive Species activities being implemented throughout Ashland County:

  • Clean Boats Clean Waters
  • Citizen Lake Monitoring Network
  • Project RED
  • Purple Loosestrife Biological Control
  • AIS Monitoring
  • Educational Outreach
  • Forming a Lake Association
  • Controlling Runoff and Erosion

Clean Boats, Clean Waters

With the growing concern over the spread of aquatic invasive species to Wisconsin's inland lakes, many lake association members and other concerned citizens are looking for ways to get involved. The Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteer watercraft inspection program is an opportunity to take a front line defense against the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, volunteers are trained to organize and conduct a boater education program in their community. Adults and youth teams educate boaters on how and where invasive species are most likely to hitch a ride into water bodies. Volunteers perform boat and trailer checks for invasive species, distribute informational brochures and collect and report any new water body infestations.



 Citizen Lake Monitoring Network

Join over 1,000 volunteers now participating statewide in water quality monitoring the WDNR and UW-Extension provides training and equipment, while citizens volunteer their time and energy. The assistance and enthusiasm of local volunteers play and important part in lake monitoring and protection.

Aquatic plants are another indicator of lake health and are an essential part of a healthy lake ecosystem. Materials are provided to help identify aquatic plants and to help the observer map the location and size of plant beds.

Education and early identification of these non-native aquatic plants are the keys to control. Volunteers learn to identify these invasive species and are the eyes for water biologists to monitor Wisconsin's 15,081 lakes.



  Project RED (Riverine Early Detection)

Attention paddlers, fisherman, water quality monitors, shoreline owners, and river enthusiasts:

The River Alliance of Wisconsin's Project RED (riverine early detectors) is a monitoring program that trains citizens to identify and report 16 invasive species within river corridors statewide. During the free training, the River Alliance will teach you to monitor your river be in a canoe, kayak, or on foot for 16 species of concern. they will help you choose locations and a monitoring schedule that is convenient to you and your volunteers. The River Alliance will also provide you with online data management tools available from the Wisconsin DNR that help you report your findings. The protocols area easy and fun. In addition, you can use the activity to become more familiar with your river or stream and to engage your friends and neighbors.


 Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Project 

This project is part of a statewide effort to control purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Purple loosestrife is an exotic, invasive, perennial wetland plant that destroys wetland biodiversity.

Biological control has been proven to be a very effective, low-cost option to control purple loosestrife. This project uses Galerucella beetles, which feed on the leaves of the plant. By the end of summer, the beetles will have reproduced into as many as 1000 beetles per plants! By this time, the purple loosestrife is severely defoliated and is unable to flower and reproduce. The beetles will then be released into a local wetland where purple loosestrife is present.


Aquatic Invasive Species Monitoring

Monitoring for aquatic invasive species is critical to the health of Ashland County waterways. Monitoring is designed to help detect new invasive species so the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) can be alerted and lake residents and AIS professionals can respond appropriately.

Volunteers and lake residents are often the one to alert the WDNR and/or AIS professionals of new invasive species in our waters. Volunteers and lake residents play an integral part in AIS Monitoring and it is critical to have you "on board."

Opportunities for AIS Monitoring include taking AIS professionals out on a boat to look for aquatic invasive species, conducting shoreline monitoring for AIS, and monitoring for AIS at boat landings.


Educational Outreach 

Workshops, Trainings, Presentations, Newspapers, Newsletters, Internet, Blogs, Websites, TV, Radio, Educational Outreach Events, and More!



 If you are interested in participating in any of these activities or would like to know more information, please feel free to contact us at the Ashland County Land and Water Conservation Department.