Learn about native and invasive aquatic species .

Native plant beds are important for diversity of plant life along our shorelines and shallows.  They provide nursery areas and sanctuary for many species.  They provide oxygen to the water by day and use nutrients from the water for growth, which improves water quality.  Plants like arrowhead, pickerel weed, sedges, rushes, and wild rice help slow waves to protect our shorelines.  Wild rice in particular provides food and habitat for many species and is a sacred food for our Native American neighbors.  When boating, go around beds of these plants at slow-no wake speed.  This publication is particularly useful


On the other hand some plants and animals, called invasives, have been introduced into an ecosystem from somewhere else; these invasives can seriously harm the quality of the lake or river by replacing native species, upsetting the natural balance of the ecosystem, interfering with navigation, hampering economic activity, and in some cases harming human health.  Once a nuisance species, like Eurasian Water Milfoil, gets a foothold in a lake or river, it is very expensive and difficult to control.  Of recent concern is the spread of zebra mussels into nearby waterbodies.  Here in Wisconsin there are a large number of plant and animal species that are regulated in order to control or eliminate them.  To learn more about these threats to our lakes and rivers, see resources from the following organizations: 

DNR website

UW Extension Lakes

River Alliance of Wisconsin