Updated Restrictions On Invasive Species Possession Will Soon Get Public Hearings

Proposal Would Add 80 New Species To List Of Species That Can't Be Possessed Without State Permit

The emerald ash borer's status on the list would change from "prohibited" to "restricted." Photo: Public Domain.

Proposed limits on who can possess more invasive species in Wisconsin are headed to public hearings.

Department of Natural Resources staff and others have been working on an update of a state list of invasive species that can’t be possessed, transferred, transported or introduced without a state permit. About 100 species are presently covered. A proposed rule heading to public hearings would list more than 80 new prohibited or restricted species, while two would be taken off the list.

The DNR’s Dreux Watermolen says the department has been working with landscapers, fish farmers and others that might encounter the non-native species; he says the proposal should go forward.

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“We think we have a proposed rule outlined that’s based on science as well as common-sense approaches,” said Watermolen.

Watermolen says under the proposal, the emerald ash borer would no longer be prohibited, recognizing that the insect has already been found in at least 19 Wisconsin counties. He says, however, that possession would still be restricted, meaning that the state isn’t done fighting the green bug yet.

“The change from prohibited to restricted is not scaling back, said Watermolen. “The quarantines are still in place. Our firewood restrictions are still in place. All those efforts are important. Municipalities are going to continue to manage the emerald ash borer.”

Public hearings on the invasive species plan are expected over the next few months.