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  Invasive Species
in the Great Lakes Region

What's New | Overview | General Resources | Ballast Water | Education
Laws | Photo Galleries | Publications | Task Forces | Related Resources

 
Current invaders:
Crustaceans: Rusty Crayfish | Spiny Water Flea
Fish: Goby (Round) | Goby (Tubenose) | Rudd | Ruffe | Sea Lamprey | White Perch
Mollusks: Quagga Mussel | Zebra Mussel
Plants: Curly-leaf Pondweed | Eurasian Watermilfoil | Phragmites (non-native) | Purple Loosestrife
Viruses: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSv)
 
Potential invaders:
Fish: Asian Carp

[Invasive species home page]

 
What's New
NY wants public input on stopping aquatic invaders
The Associated Press (10/30)
New York environmental officials are accepting public comments on their plan to check the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Be a hero: transport zero
(10/29)
Aquatic invasive species are non-native plants and animals that can harm our waterways. Aquatic invaders crowd out native species and can negatively impact water quality, and they can interfere with boating, swimming, and fishing. But a few simple steps can prevent aquatic invaders from taking over: remove, drain, dry.

St. Louis County Board backs invasive species program
Duluth News Tribune (10/28)
St. Louis, MN County commissioners on Tuesday gave final approval for county staff to develop an aquatic species management plan and accept state money to make it work.

Officials: still no Asian carp in Great Lakes
United Press International (10/27)
Testing by Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, confirmed that there is no evidence of an Asian (or silver) carp population in Lake Michigan or the nearby waters of the Kalamazoo -- or any of the Great Lakes.

Freshwater Summit to address Great Lakes issues
Grand Traverse Insider (10/26)
Speakers will discuss climate change, invasive species, water levels and the economic impacts of the various issues facing the Great Lakes.

The ugly truth about purple loosestrife
Chicago Tribune (10/24)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is an invasive plant that is a serious threat to native wet habitats. Stewards of natural areas fight constantly against its spread.

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Overview
Exotic species have threatened the Great Lakes ever since Europeans settled in the region. Since the 1800s, more than 140 exotic aquatic organisms of all types - including plants, fish, algae and mollusks - have become established in the Great Lakes. As human activity has increased in the Great Lakes watershed, the rate of introduction of exotic species has increased. More than one-third of the organisms have been introduced in the past 30 years, a surge coinciding with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

References: Counterattack: Great Lakes Panel Targets Aquatic Nuisance Species, 1992, Great Lakes Commission.

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General Resources
Biological Pollution
Northeast-Midwest Institute
The Institute is undertaking a number of efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of nonindigenous invasive species.

Exotic Pest Plant Home Page
Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
Get acquainted with some of the most notable invasive (non-native) plants that are expanding their populations in the Great Lakes region. Includes a photo gallery, GIS mapping interface and species information.

Exotic Species
Minnesota Sea Grant
This site provides general information about zebra mussels, ruffe and more, including how to identify these species.

Exotic Species and Their Effects on the Great Lakes
Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council
The council represents the national sport fishing community on the congressionally mandated federal Ruffe Control Committee and Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species, and recognizes the seriousness of the introduction of nonindigenous species into our ecosystem.

Great Ships Initiative
The Great Ships Initiative (GSI) is a collaborative effort to end the problem of ship-mediated invasive species in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System through independent research and demonstration of environmental technology, financial incentives and consistent basin-wide harbor monitoring.

Invading Species
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
This site focuses on how to control the spread of several aquatic nuisance species.

Invasive Plants of Canada
Parks Canada, Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada
IPCAN compiles information on invasive exotic plants of wetland and upland habitats, including databases of several major invasive exotic plants for computer mapping.

Invasivespecies.gov
This is the web gateway for the National Invasive Species Council, which coordinates U.S. federal efforts concerning invasive species.

National Aquatic Nuisance Species Clearinghouse
New York Sea Grant/National Sea Grant College Program
North America's most extensive technical library of publications related to the spread, biology, impacts and control of the zebra mussel. Also includes smaller libraries addressing the Eurasian ruffe, round goby, tube-nosed goby, spiny water flea and more.

Nonindigenous Fish of the Great Lakes
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
Color illustrations or photographs and descriptions of nonindigenous fish species.

Sea Grant Nonindigenous Species Site (SGNIS)
Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
This site offers a comprehensive collection of research publications and education materials produced by Sea Grant programs across the country on zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species.

U.S Distribution Maps of Nonindigenous Fish
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Zebra Mussel/Aquatic Nuisance Species Office
Michigan Sea Grant
This office serves as a centralized source for information exchange among Michigan Sea Grant staff, state and federal agencies, researchers, water users and others.

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Ballast Water
Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS)
U.S. Coast Guard
Information on the ANS problem, focusing on Ballast Water Management and information for ships and vessels.

Great Ships Initiative
The Great Ships Initiative (GSI) is a collaborative effort to end the problem of ship-mediated invasive species in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System through independent research and demonstration of environmental technology, financial incentives and consistent basin-wide harbor monitoring.

National Ballast Water Information Clearinghouse
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Established in 1997 by the U.S. Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, as a clearinghouse for the synthesis, analysis and interpretation of national data concerning ballast water management and ballast-mediated invasions.

The Challenge of Treating Ballast Water (PDF)
From Ohio Sea Grant's Twine Line
Outlines initial studies that will be used in designing ballast water treatment systems, considered an important strategy for controlling the spread of exotic aquatic species.

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Education
TEACH Great Lakes: Non-native invasive species
Find out what invasive species are, how they adversely affect the Great Lakes ecosystem and what's being done to prevent and control the spread of these species.

Exotic CD
Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
A CD-version of the award-winning Sea Grant Nonindigenous Species Site (SGNIS). Includes recent research findings, training and education materials, distribution maps, photos, video clips and more.

Habitattitude
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Adopt a conservation mentality: Protect our environment by not releasing unwanted fish and aquatic plants into the wild. Find out what you can do to help this growing problem on this site.

Traveling Trunks
Minnesota Sea Grant/Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Exotic Aquatics and Zebra Mussel Mania traveling trunks are full of hands-on activities to teach children about nonindigenous species and how they?re affecting the health of the Great Lakes and inland waterways.

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Laws
National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA)
Thomas, Library of Congress
NISA is the U.S. federal bill to reauthorize and expand the 1990 federal nonindigenous species legislation. A key element of the legislation is that it provides for ballast water management to prevent the introduction and further spread of nonindigenous species in U.S. waters.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990
This act aims to prevent and control infestations of the coastal inland waters of the United States by the zebra mussel and other nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species.

Thomas
Library of Congress
Search full-text versions of U.S. House and Senate bills from recent sessions of Congress. Enter "aquatic nuisance" as key words to find bills relating to ANS.


 
STATE REGULATIONS
Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Minnesota
See also, Stop aquatic hitchhikers!

New York
Ohio

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Photo Galleries
Exotic Pest Plant Photo Gallery
Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
Searchable by scientific or common name.

Exotic Species Graphics Library
National Sea Grant Network

Graphics Library
Sea Grant Nonindigenous Species Site (SGNIS)

Photo Gallery
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab

Sea Lamprey Photos
Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Visualizing the Great Lakes: Invasive Species
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Publications
A Field Guide to Aquatic Exotic Plants and Animals
Minnesota Sea Grant
This guide provides an introduction to many exotic species found in the Great Lakes region.

ANS Information and Education Materials Relevant to the Great Lakes Basin: Recommendations and Descriptive Inventory (PDF)
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species
Includes an overview of the I/E inventory project and the collective effort; findings and recommendations to help guide future efforts; and a descriptive inventory of ANS I/E materials relevant to the Great Lakes basin.

ANS Research Relevant to the Great Lakes Basin: Research Guidance and Descriptive Inventory (PDF)
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species
Includes an overview of the collective ANS research effort; findings and recommendations to help guide future ANS research; and a descriptive inventory of ANS research relevant to the Great Lakes basin.

ANS Update
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species
A quarterly publication of the Great Lakes Panel, convened by the Great Lakes Commission to address ANS issues in the Great Lakes basin.

Aquatic Nuisance Species Handbook for Government Officials (PDF)
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of the Great Lakes
Developed pursuant to Michigan's Comprehensive State Management Plan targeting non-native species, this handbook was created to educate local, county and state government officials about problems and solutions relating to the on-going invasion and spread of aquatic nuisance species.

Aquatic Nuisance Species Publications
Great Lakes Commission
An online ordering catalog of Commission ANS publications.

Information & Education Strategy for Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control (PDF)
Great Lakes Panel of Aquatic Nuisance Species

Lake Huron Initiative Nonindigenous Species Action Plan
Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
As part of the Lake Huron Initiative Action Plan, this plan provides information regarding nonindigenous species in Lake Huron and highlights the importance of historical introductions on the current status of the Lake Huron ecosystem and recommendations to prevent future introductions.

Making a List: Prevention Strategies for Invasive Plants in the Great Lakes States
Environmental Law Institute
This report surveys plant listing programs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin to assess the effectiveness of listing as a tool to prevent the proliferation and spreads of invasive plant species.

Michigan Sea Grant Bookstore
Michigan Sea Grant
Aquatic Nuisance section includes factsheets and more, available for order online.

Model Guidance for Great Lakes Jurisdictions (PDF)
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species
Legislation, Regulation and Policy for the Prevention and Control of Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species: Model Guidance for Great Lakes Jurisdictions (June 1999).

Out of place: How aquatic exotic species alter Wisconsin waterways
Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine
This in-depth feature provides critical information on the history of invasive species, pathways, control options and management strategies, as well as eight myths about aquatic exotics.


 
STATE MANAGEMENT PLANS
A Model Comprehensive State Management Plan for the Prevention and Control of Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species (PDF)
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species
This report is presented to the Great Lakes states as guidance in developing comprehensive state management plans under Section 1204 of the federal Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (P.L. 101-646). Although prepared specifically for the Great Lakes states, this model plan also has application for other states and Canadian provinces.

Michigan Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species State Management Plan
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

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Task Forces
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species
Since 1991, the panel has worked to prevent and control the occurrence of aquatic nuisance species in the Great Lakes.

Invasive Plant Council of New York State
This group provides coordination and guidance on the management of invasive plants to protect biodiversity in New York State. Includes a list of the state's top 20 most invasive species, along with photos, and information on biology, range and habitat.

Invasive Species Committee
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Find out how the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team is addressing invasive species issues along with many helpful links.

Invasivespecies.gov
This is the web gateway for the National Invasive Species Council, which coordinates U.S. federal efforts concerning invasive species.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species National Task Force
The task force is an interagency committee established by the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 to coordinate the development and implementation of programs addressing issues within the Act. The task force's 1994 Report to Congress provides recommendations for "reducing the risk of adverse consequences associated with intentional introductions of aquatic organisms."

Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species
Formed in 1997 to help limit the introduction, spread and impacts of aquatic nuisance species on the west coast of North America.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Environment
GLIN: Biodiversity in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Habitats of the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Plants of the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Wildlife of the Great Lakes Region

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Updated: October 31, 2014
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