A new study says invasive species in lakes cause significant economic damage.
The study examined the spiny water flea invasion of a single Wisconsin lake and calculated the damage to the lake's water quality at $140 million.
While the study focused on one lake, it points to the need for more data about the economic impact of invasive species, said study author Jake Walsh, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Walsh said he arrived at the $140 million cost by determining the value of ecosystem services like clean water and fishing.
• MPR News with Kerri Miller: Is the war on invasives worth fighting?
"We are just estimating the damages of one invasive species in one lake. That's kind of the weakness of the study, but it's also the strength of the study," he said. "I don't think it's very hard to start thinking about other examples where invasive species are impacting the ecosystem services that we care about."
Walsh said more economic research is needed to help inform decisions about how much to spend fighting aquatic invasive species.
The study is published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."