Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coalition is a partnership focused on making a difference

boating access site sign stencil
Photo courtesy of WRISC

The Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coalition (WRISC) is a cooperative invasive species partnership operating in northeast Wisconsin and Michigan's western Upper Peninsula. The partnership consists of a wide range of members from local, state, tribal and federal agencies; land managers; utility companies; civic organizations; businesses and individuals. All members are interested in the education and management of invasive species in the five county area WRISC covers.

Invasive species can have devastating ecological and economic impacts to communities. Industries such as forestry, agriculture and outdoor recreation are all at risk, as are native fish and wildlife habitats. Invasive species are often widely dispersed across the landscape, and do not respect geopolitical boundaries. As such, this coalition strives to combine multi-agency resources and expertise to coordinate education and management of invasive species across borders, promoting best management practices that will help to slow the spread of these invaders.

Beginning in 2015, the Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division became a local partner with WRISC. Jennifer Johnson, a DNR fisheries biologist at Crystal Falls, is currently a board member and participates with the Aquatic Invasive Species Monitoring Team.

"I've been involved with WRISC since before I was hired by the state of Michigan," said Johnson. "Local groups like this are driving forces for managing invasive species. They know the areas so well and they're in constant contact with local citizens who have concerns."

This unique partnership opens the door for effective communication and management of invasive species in the Northern Lake Michigan Management Unit. Connecting with WRISC ensures the DNR can be alerted to local invasive species issues as soon as they occur.

WRIS has been a recipient of Michigan's Invasive Species Grant Program and is doing lots of work to prevent new species from being introduced and preventing existing species from spreading.

For more information on WRISC and the many invasive species projects they are leading, please visit www.wrisc.org. Even better is to plan to attend WRISC's annual meeting in Florence, WI on June 7, 2017. WRISC is always looking for volunteers!