In support of Aquatic Nuisance Species Awareness Week, May 31-June 7, I would like to point out an important aquatic invasive species report prepared by the International Association for Great Lakes Research.
Aquatic invasive species pose one of the greatest risks to the health and productivity of our Great Lakes, and threaten economic losses that total in the billions of dollars. In response to that threat, a recent report summarizes the state of the current science and challenges governments to take action.
The report, titled Research and Management Priorities for Aquatic Invasive Species in the Great Lakes, was released last November by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, under funding from The Joyce Foundation. It is targeted at Great Lakes policymakers in an effort to strengthen the science-policy linkage.
"Both U.S. and Canadian governments are calling for sound science as the foundation for Great Lakes policy development," notes U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. "This document not only translates the science on aquatic invasive species, but it challenges governments to establish a 10-year goal to eliminate new introductions of aquatic invasive species and to increase funding to advance our scientific understanding of the problem and test technologies that would eliminate future introductions."
Specifically, the report concludes that a major federal funding increase of at least $30 million per year is needed for the Great Lakes region to push for rapid progress toward solutions to the aquatic nuisance species problems. It presents a range of recommendations, from the need for effective, practical ballast water treatment standards and test platforms, to upgrading the barrier between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes to prevent movement of exotic species, such as the three species of Asian carp that are just 17 miles from the only barrier to Lake Michigan.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan notes his agreement with the report's conclusion about aquatic invasive species' disastrous economic and environmental impacts on the lakes. The report also recommends additional research involving genetics, shifts in patterns of trade, and an assessment of potential invader organisms.
"Current scientific knowledge is essential to strengthen the science-policy linkage in the Great Lakes Basin and promote better management of one-fifth of the World's standing freshwater," notes Sen. Stabenow.
See link to report -- http://www.iaglr.org/scipolicy/ais/
Submitted by John Hartig
Detroit River Navigator, Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative