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Energy & Environment

Science on Tap: Using science to fight aquatic invasive species

Katie Thoresen

Michelle Nault spends her days combing lakes and scouring through data.

“The science of aquatic invasive species is ever evolving. There’s new tools and techniques being developed and tested,” said Nault.

Nault is the statewide lakes and reservoir ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Water Quality.

She helps with lake management and restoration efforts throughout the state.

“A lot of these invasive species don’t currently have viable management techniques. It’s really a lot of knowledge seeking and research and working collaboratively with other partners and resource managers and even citizens,” said Nault.

Aquatic Invasive Species like spiny water fleas and Eurasian water milfoil are primarily spread by humans when their boats or recreational gear go from lake to lake.

Nault says prevention is key, but there are still large gaps in our knowledge when it comes to fighting AIS.

“What we have less information on is how problematic are these invasive species once they do invade a water body and what do we really do, what can we do about them once they are established and are deemed to be problematic?” said Nault.

A large part of her job is studying invasives in Wisconsin to learn the best ways to remove or manage them.

“We hope to really use this information to guide, ensuring that we’re doing more good than harm when we’re managing these invasive species.”

Nault will be diving into her work and sharing it with people during January’s Science on Tap-Minocqua.

It’s Wednesday, January 5th at 6:30 p.m. at Oakfire Pizza in Minocqua.

It’ll also be live streamed on youtube.