Public invited to join Lincoln, Oneida County AIS teams in Snapshot Day event
For the Tomahawk Leader
TOMAHAWK – Water lovers of all ages are invited to join both the Lincoln and Oneida County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Teams to search for AIS during the statewide AIS Snapshot Day.
The event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 20 at Wayside Park, at the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. A in Tomahawk, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“This fun, hands-on citizen science event relies on volunteers to help search designated shoreline sites along lakes, rivers, and streams for signs of non-native plants and animals that pose risks to Wisconsin waterways,” a release from the Lincoln County Land Services Department stated. “Potential AIS will be verified and cataloged with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to guide species removal and conservation plans.”
Coordinated in partnership by Water Action Volunteers (WAV), UW-Madison Division of Extension, River Alliance of Wisconsin, DNR and local partners, Snapshot Day is entering its ninth year. This is the first year that Lincoln and Oneida Counties have co-hosted an event, and they join a larger network of over 20 conservation organizations helping to prevent the spread of invasive species across Wisconsin, the release said.
On AIS Snapshot Day, participants will meet at Wayside Park at 8:30 a.m. for a brief training provided by local Snapshot Day co-hosts, Stephanie Boismenue, Oneida County AIS Coordinator, and Tom Boisvert, Lincoln County Conservation Program Manager.
After training, teams will head to nearby lakes and rivers to monitor the shorelines for previously undocumented AIS and collect suspected specimens before returning to Wayside Park to review findings and share their experiences.
There are nine monitoring sites located within the Lincoln County townships of Bradley, Skanawan and Somo, and 15 sites are located within the townships of Little Rice, Nokomis and Woodboro in Oneida County.
The release said volunteers can monitor at their own comfort level – from the shore with binoculars and rakes or by wading in shallow water to get a better look.
“AIS Snapshot Day is a fun way for citizens to learn about the lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands they love and help protect those waters from invasive plants and animals that negatively impact aquatic habitats, wildlife, fisheries, recreational opportunities, shoreline property values, the economy and human health,” Boismenue stated. “With 729 lakes and 688 miles of stream in Lincoln County, and 1,130 lakes and 830 miles of streams in Oneida County, some of which are in both counties, these waters are, unquestionably, the foundation of our lifestyle and economy. During Snapshot Day, not only are the volunteers spending a Saturday morning having fun searching for AIS and exploring local waters, but they are also helping to protect our precious water resources now and for future generations.”
In 2021, 22 events around the state welcomed 105 participants who monitored 128 sites for AIS. Volunteers found 103 reports of 17 different species of aquatic invaders, including 24 new populations reported. The top three most common reports were of purple loosestrife, Eurasian watermilfoil and curly leaf pondweed, according to the release.
Snapshot Day is free, and no experience is necessary. The event is recommended for ages eight and up, and minors must be accompanied by an adult.
“This year, the event will continue to have precautions put in place to ensure the event is safe for everyone who would like to participate,” the release said. “We ask all non-vaccinated volunteers to practice social distancing and wear a mask.”
Advance registration is requested to help Site Leaders build monitoring plans, but will remain open until Sunday, Aug. 14. To register and see event details, visit the Water Action Volunteers website at www.wateractionvolunteers.org/events/.