Skip to main content

Support Aquatic Invasive Species Research

Your donation supports aquatic invasive species work at DNR and provides grants to scientists studying ways to improve invasive species prevention and control.

If you enjoy using Wisconsin waters for boating, fishing, or any other activity, you benefit directly from DNR’s work to better understand aquatic invasive species and keep valuable aquatic resources healthy and accessible!

Aquatic invasive species can have negative impacts on Wisconsin’s environment, communities and economy, but often little is known about these new invaders or how to manage them.

The DNR and many partners are working to prevent and control aquatic invasive species across the state, and research helps us learn how to do so more effectively, efficiently, and safely. Research can also help us better understand the impacts of invasive species on the environment and on communities.

Getting involved is easy

When you register a new boat or renew your registration, just select the option to add an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) donation of $2 or more. You can donate whether you’re registering online, with an agent, or by mail. To register or renew online, please visit GoWild.

Want to support research but don’t need to register a boat? No problem! Make an online donation through GoWild at any time, no other transaction necessary.

Your donations support important work

Your contribution pays for staff, supplies and other costs of coordinating and carrying out invasive species research and control projects across the state. You’re also supporting grants to scientists outside DNR who are working to better understand aquatic invasive species and the tools used to manage them. Even when projects don’t take place on your local waterbody, what we learn will be applied to benefit all Wisconsin waters!

Recent research accomplishments

Eurasian and hybrid watermilfoil
  • DNR scientists and partners are actively conducting research on non-native Eurasian watermilfoil in lakes across Wisconsin, including studies on ecological impacts and control methods. These studies help us better monitor and manage new and existing populations of invasive plants. Ongoing research is also being conducted to help us better understand and manage populations of hybrid watermilfoil using tools like genetic analysis.
  • Several studies have been conducted to learn more about small native aquatic beetles called milfoil weevils which feed on watermilfoil. Scientists from UW-Madison and Missouri State University collaborated on a weevil research project highlighting factors that may affect the success of using weevils as biocontrol.
  • Additional scientific publications from several Eurasian watermilfoil studies and other DNR-supported projects are available on our APM research articles page.
AIS Control Methods
  • Multiple studies have been completed by both DNR staff and external partners on the effectiveness of different chemical and non-chemical methods for controlling invasive aquatic species.
  • Several field studies have been conducted on small-scale and large-scale chemical treatments for aquatic invasive plant control.
  • Researchers at UW-Madison designed and implemented an innovative device that initiates whole-lake mixing of the water column to control invasive rainbow smelt, a cold-water fish.
  • DNR staff and partners are actively conducting research on management efforts implemented for starry stonewort control, a relatively new invader to Wisconsin.  
AIS Prevention
  • DNR staff and grant-supported partners have conducted research to better understand how to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in Wisconsin.
  • Researchers at UW-Madison studied some of the significant ecological and economic impacts of the invasive spiny water flea. They evaluated methods for detecting new invasions of this species and identified ways it may be likely to spread between waterbodies.
  • Numerous strategies exist for decontaminating equipment for aquatic invasive species. A laboratory study conducted by the New York Botanical Garden tested the efficacy of several decontamination methods on starry stonewort bulbils.
  • A study by Lawrence University examined various disinfection methods to determine the most effective way to disinfect equipment to prevent the spread of small invasive invertebrates.
  • Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Illinois conducted laboratory experiments to determine whether dissolved CO2 could be used as a deterrent for invasive round goby, a small non-native fish.
  • This and other research supports DNR efforts to prevent the spread of AIS.
Zebra mussels
  • Scientists at UW-Madison are collecting data to better understand what factors may affect the growth and spread of zebra mussels in Lake Mendota. Some interactive data from the research team can be viewed online.
  • Researchers at UW-Oshkosh are studying zebra mussels in Lake Winnebago and their potential effects on water quality.

The results of these and many other research studies have helped DNR:

  • identify best practices for when and how to control species that impact the environment and lake users;
  • better prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals;
  • improve methods used to monitor existing populations of aquatic invasive species; and
  • find ways to better predict what waterbodies may be vulnerable to new invasions.

Learn more

For more detailed information on some of DNR's research on aquatic invasive species and control methods visit our research page.

To learn more about aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin more generally, visit DNR's AIS page.

Take action

In addition to supporting research activities with a donation, visit our prevention page to learn more about ways you can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.