- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A new study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison highlights the hefty cost of controlling aquatic invasive species in the state’s lakes.

The study found that the estimated cost of controlling a single invasive species, the spiny waterflea, in just one lake could range from $86.5 million to $163 million over 20 years. Researchers believe study’s results show that a broader measure of the costs of controlling aquatic invasive species should be taken into account.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources helped fund the study because officials want to know more about the spiny waterflea and its potential to harm native fish populations, said Bob Wakeman, the agency’s aquatic invasive species coordinator.

The spiny waterflea arrived in Lake Michigan in 1986 and turned up in the Madison lakes of Mendota and Waubesa in 2009, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1MPq6fh ) reported. The tiny organism now inhabits at least 22 waterways in Wisconsin.

Like many other aquatic invasive species, the spiny waterflea is believed to have entered the Great Lakes in ballast tanks of freighters from European ports, and then transported, often unwittingly, to inland lakes via the hulls of boats, bilge tanks and bait buckets.

There are 37 types of invasive species in inland lakes, according to the department. Some of the state’s lakes have been untouched, while others are plagued with foreign species that could threaten their ecosystem.

The state Department of Natural Resources spends about $4 million annually on various efforts to control the spread of invasive species in inland lakes.

In recent years, the number of new invasive species has leveled off, Wakeman said.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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