2013 looks bright for Oneida County?s AIS program
Thanks to recently awarded WDNR and Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB) grants, the Oneida County Land & Water Department (LWCD) will be better able to effectively battle aquatic invasive species (AIS) in 2013. The Oneida County AIS program is fully dependent on grant funding for its operating expenses. “Without the help of organizations such as the DNR or WEEB, our program would be virtually non-existent,” said Michele Sadauskas, Oneida County AIS coordinator.
Since May 2011, Sadauskas has been able to increase the number of limited-term employees working in the program and the number of hours they are in the field battling AIS. The $47,253 WDNR grant will enable the county to hire three AIS assistants. Assistants will perform at least 750 hours of boat inspections, snorkel-monitor multiple lakes, collect data on AIS movement and distribution in Oneida County and perform educational outreach to citizens of all ages. The AIS program will also host five workshops that will increase knowledge on purple loosestrife, the Clean Boats Clean Waters program, citizen lake monitoring and help educators and resource professionals receive additional training on AIS. Sadauskas is particularly excited about the increase of on-water monitoring that will be occurring in 2013.
“I have always wanted to increase how much time our team spends on the water,” she said. “That’s where the action is, that is where we can do the most good. This year’s grant will allow us to not only be at the landings, but in and on the water. I am very pleased!”
Additionally, the Oneida County AIS program will be able to perform educational outreach throughout the winter months of January and February. Thanks to a $2,858 WEEB grant, Oneida County will welcome Chris Hamerla to assist with ice angler outreach. Many of Oneida County’s lakes receive heavy fishing pressure during the winter months and AIS is not just a summertime issue. Fish diseases can spread by the exchange of water, dormant plant fragments can still pose a threat and many of Wisconsin ice anglers open-water fish as well. “AIS outreach to our ice anglers just makes sense,” said Sadauskas.
For more information, contact Michele Sadauskas, Oneida County AIS coordinator, at (715) 365-2750 or [email protected] Visit oneidacountyais.com to learn more about the Oneida County AIS team.