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Joint Minnesota-Wisconsin conference to address invasive species – Nov. 8-10

The 2010 Minnesota-Wisconsin Invasive Species Conference (MNWIISC) will take place Nov. 8-10 in St. Paul, MN, at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel. This is the first ever, joint state conference bringing together researchers, land and water area managers, private property owners, consultants, and others to work together and learn from each other to improve invasive species research and management.

MNWIISC will address both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. Over 180 oral and poster presentations in six concurrent session tracks will provide nearly 50 distinct sessions on invasive species management issues for attendees to choose from.

Expected attendance is 500-600 people. Over 300 people have already registered.

“If your lake has Eurasian watermilfoil and purple loosestrife, or your local woodland has buckthorn or honeysuckle, or you are concerned about losing your ash trees to emerald ash borer, we have several presentations and exhibitors tailored to your information needs. We want to give citizens, land or water managers, lake associations, and other organizations the tools to be effective stewards,” says Steve Chaplin, Senior Conservation Scientist with The Nature Conservancy and MNWIISC Co-Chair.

The conference is being co-hosted by the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council, the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin, the Midwest Invasive Plant Network, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society – Minnesota Chapter.

News headlines increasingly document the threat of invasive plants and animals to the ecological heritage of the upper Midwest. From quagga mussels to Japanese hedge parsley, there may be up to five new invading species entering the region every year.

“Whether you work, live or play in or near forests, rivers, prairies, or lakes, everyone can do something to stop the spread of invasive species,” says Laura Van Riper, Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator with the Minnesota DNR and MNWIISC Co-Chair.

New laws are in place in both Minnesota and Wisconsin regarding the possession and management of invasive species. Special sessions will teach attendees how the laws affect them.

Plenary presentations will discuss regional approaches, new techniques, and the politics of invasive species research and management. A Welcome Plenary will take place on Monday, Nov. 8 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and a Luncheon Plenary on Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 12-1:15 p.m. will also feature the Carol Mortensen Award from the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council.

Plenary speaker highlights include:

– Lindsay Chatterton from The Nature Conservancy Great Lakes Project will discuss the use of DNA testing to detect Asian Carp and other aquatic invasive species.

– Janet Clark, Owner of Sweetgrass Consulting will discuss opportunities for partnerships, publicity, and funding.

– Troy Weldy from The Nature Conservancy – New York Chapter will talk about how New York created a state-wide invasive species program; and

– Lee Frelich, Director of the Center for Hardwood Ecology at the University of Minnesota will discuss how the interaction of invasive species and climate change may greatly affect forests.

Over 32 of the Midwest’s and the nation’s leading invasive management and restoration companies, agencies, and organizations will exhibit their products and services.

Download Conference Program information and more at the conference website:
http://www.minnesotaswcs.org/2010_mn_wi_invasive_species_conference.htm

For more information, contact conference administrator Belle Bergner at (414)  967-1350 or bbergner@mnwiisc.org; or Mark Renz at (608) 263-7437, mrenz@wisc.edu.

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