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Panel okays invasive species changes

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state panel has agreed to cut back on the effort to fight the tree killing emerald ash borer, and do more to combat other invasive species.

The Natural Resources Board voted 6-0 Wednesday morning to update the invasive species list for the first time since it was created in 2009. It spells out strategies for handling about 100 invasive species which were mentioned before -- like the emerald ash borer, the Asian carp, and zebra mussels.

Wednesday, about 90 new species were added to the DNR's radar screen, like "killer algae seaweed" from the Mediterranean.

The ash borer beetle was downgraded from a prohibited status to a restricted status. It means that people no longer have to take steps to eradicate the ash borer from their properties.

Still, people cannot sell or transport the emerald ash borer, which is now in parts of 19 Wisconsin counties.

Officials say the change recognizes that the bug is well established -- and it's too late to try and eradicate it. The DNR says most communities that are dealing with the beetles are more concerned about managing the pests than getting rid of them.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)