Water We Talking About? A 12-Year-Old Makes a Video About Mussels

Happy Friday! It’s time again for Water We Talking About – when kids send us freshwater-related questions and we track down real-life scientists to answer them. This week, though, Madeline from Madison threw us a curve ball – she didn’t send a question, she sent a video full of all sorts of facts about zebra and quagga mussels – like how humans brought them to North America and the mussels took it from there. We think you’ll agree that Madeline’s video is quite engaging and creative!


Of course, we couldn’t let Madeline off the hook without asking us something – so here’s what she was pondering.

The Question:

Has any legislation been passed within Dane County or Wisconsin to protect the lakes and rivers, especially from invasive species? – Madeline, Age 12, Madison, WI

The Answer:

Thanks for the question (and video) Madeline! To answer your policy question, we tracked down Tim Campbell, who is the aquatic invasive species outreach specialist for the Wisconsin Sea Grant. Here’s what he had to say:

Hi Madeline!

The state of Wisconsin protects our lakes and rivers through laws related to water quality, fisheries, and invasive species. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources works hard to control and manage existing invasive species in the state and to prevent new species from getting in to our waters. The WDNR uses a law called “the invasive species rule” (or NR40 in lawyer circles) to develop the “regulated species list,” which helps keep potential invaders out of the state. The list details what non-native species people can and cannot have in the state and the NR40 invasive species rule also requires people to take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of invasive species. For lake lovers, cleaning boats before traveling to other lakes and not dumping bait buckets are ways that prevent the spread of invasive species.

The Wisconsin DNR also runs an aquatic invasive species grant program that allows them to distribute about $4.5 million in grant funding each year to local organizations to help them implement aquatic invasive species outreach, management, and control activities. The DNR has a map of where these grants were awarded for 2020 here. 

Thanks for your question and thanks for spreading the word about invasive species!


That’s all for this week! Thanks, as always, for tuning in.

If you’re a kid with a question of your own, ask us at media@limnology.wisc.edu – @WiscLimnology on Twitter – or our Center for Limnology Facebook Page!