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GLIN==> Great Lakes Action Plan on Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS)



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2001

Contact: Mike Donahue, Great Lakes Commission President/CEO
E-mail: mdonahue@glc.org
Phone: (734) 665-9135
Fax: (734) 665-4370

The complete text of the Great Lakes Action Plan is now available
on-line @ http://www.glc.org/announce/01/7-01GLaction.html

Action Plan to provide Binational Approach in Great Lakes-St. Lawrence
Region
GOVERNORS, PREMIERS JOIN FORCES TO COMBAT AQUATIC NUISANCE SPECIES

Aquatic nuisance species (ANS) prevention and control efforts have taken
a major step forward, thanks to a landmark agreement recently signed by
the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence governors and premiers.   The “Great Lakes
Action Plan” is the culmination of a major, 18-month initiative that
yielded a shared vision and common set of principles, goals and
strategies to which all eight governors and both premiers have
committed.  Plan development was coordinated by the Great Lakes Panel on
Aquatic Nuisance Species, with support from the Great Lakes Commission
staff.

It’s the first time that the region’s leadership has formally embraced a
single set of principles to guide their individual and collective
efforts.  The Action Plan signatories acknowledge their responsibility
to act “promptly and decisively” to achieve three goals: preventing
unauthorized introductions; limiting the spread of established nuisance
species; and minimizing the impacts of those already present.

The Action Plan presents 10 principles to be used as guidance in
achieving these goals.  Among others, they call for regional and global
approaches to prevention and control; a primary emphasis on prevention
of new introductions; interjurisdictional cooperation; comprehensive
multi-disciplinary research; and a coordinated and responsive management
structure.  Augmenting the Action Plan is an Addendum adopted by the
Great Lakes Panel which presents several dozen specific objectives and
strategic actions designed to realize the Action Plan goals.  Categories
include management programs; research and monitoring; and information,
education and collaboration.

The Action Plan, according to Michigan Governor John Engler, is an
important step in developing a unified, regional approach to one of the
leading environmental issues of our time.  “Aquatic nuisance species
pose a double threat,”  he notes.  “They harm both our ecosystem and our
water-based economy.  The Great Lakes Action Plan affirms my commitment,
and that of my fellow governors and premiers, to work together to
address this problem.”  Commission Chair Nathaniel E. Robinson adds:
“The governors and premiers recognize that regional problems demand
regional solutions, and we applaud their initiative in signing this
landmark agreement.”

The Action Plan promotes a unified and aggressive regional agenda that
will showcase and advance ongoing efforts to develop and implement
comprehensive state and provincial management plans, which are the
primary mechanisms for ANS prevention control efforts in the Great Lakes
St. Lawrence region at this time.  As a non-binding “good-faith”
agreement, the Action Plan does not amend or replace existing laws,
agreements and policies, but builds upon them to maximize
effectiveness.  (Note: Two jurisdictions, Wisconsin and Québec, have
received new leadership since their respective governor/premier signed
the Action Plan; efforts are underway to obtain the new leaders’
signatures.)

"The Action Plan and Addendum is a call for action by the Great
Lakes-St. Lawrence community," according to Ron Martin, Chair of the
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species.  He adds, "I will make
implementation of the Action Plan a priority, and I urge the rest of the
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence community to join me in this effort."  The
Great Lakes Panel membership, with broad-based governmental, private
sector and citizen/user group representation, will coordinate
implementation and monitor progress in achieving Action Plan goals.

Scientists have documented the introduction of over 160 non-native
aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system over
the last 150 years. The problem has accelerated in recent decades;
almost one-third of such species have been introduced since the late
1950’s, coinciding with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway system
and attendant problems of ANS introduction via ballast water of
commercial vessels.  U.S. federal legislation first adopted in 1990
(Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act) established
a comprehensive national program and also authorized the Great Lakes
Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species.  The Panel, with Great Lakes
Commission support, has developed a model comprehensive state management
plan, model state legislation, a regional Information/ Education
Strategy, and a Ballast Water Policy Statement, among other products.
The Action Plan, whose development was supported with U.S. EPA funds, is
among the Panel’s most recent initiatives.

The complete text of the Great Lakes Action Plan is now available
on-line @ http://www.glc.org/announce/01/7-01GLaction.html





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