Invasive Species

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The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is recognized for a highly ambitious invasive species project to eradicate and replace nonnative phragmites from three wastewater treatment plants in northern Wisconsin. Project leaders Chad Abel and Gabrielle VanBergen secured funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Their work made it possible to help protect thousands of acres of shoreline in northern Wisconsin, improving the health of Lake Superior, its watersheds and the lives and livelihoods of people who live there.

Red Cliff Honored for Invasive Species Work
The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, and the Village of Fox Point's president and weed commissioner are among Wisconsinites recognized as "Invader Crusaders" for their significant contributions to prevent, control or eradicate invasive plants and animals.

Winners of the 2019 Invader Crusader Awards pose for pictures after a June 5 ceremony in Madison. - Photo credit: Jane Simkins

The Invader Crusader awards were presented by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council and the Department of Natural Resources during a June 5 ceremony in Madison at Olbrich Botanical Gardens as part of Invasive Species Action Month. Invasive species are nonnative plants and animals that can harm Wisconsin's ecosystems, economy and in some cases, public health. Emerald ash borer, quagga mussel, common buckthorn, giant knotweed, sudden oak death pathogen, gypsy moth, garlic mustard and purple loosestrife are all examples.

The action month aims to engage people in taking actions to prevent spreading invasive species in their work and recreational activities, and to recognize outstanding work done to address invasive species by volunteers and natural resource professionals.

During the award ceremony, DNR Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Kluesner thanked the individual and organizational recipients for their hard work and dedication, which benefit all who live, work and play in Wisconsin. "Today, we celebrate the results of your work - lakes and lands that are given a chance to recover after many hours of hard work and dedication to control and manage invasive species," she says.

Tom Buechel, chair of the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council, which is advisory to DNR, Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Legislature on invasive species issues, told award winners that they take fighting invasive species to the next level.

"You are transforming local hands-on management into teaching and organizing opportunities to broaden the impact of your efforts."

Invader Crusader awards are given in several categories, recognizing individuals and groups, both professional and volunteer, and are selected by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council. Nominations come from citizens and organizations. The honorees and a brief description of why they received the award follows; longer descriptions are available on the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council website.