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GLIN==> IL-IN Sea Grant News: Invasive Species Program Wins Coastal America Partnership Award

November 17, 2006
Source: Robin Goettel (217) 333-9448; goettel@uiuc.edu

Invasive Species Program Wins Coastal America Partnership Award
URBANA - Aquatic Invaders, an entertaining, educational program that demonstrates simple steps to prevent the spread of invasive species, was honored by Coastal America during a recent national meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The project is a partnership between the Sea Grant network and AZA.
"Through this outstanding team effort, nearly 140 million people annually may learn how to protect our environment from aquatic invasive species, which cost our nation nearly $138 billion per year to control,? said Timothy R.E. Keeney, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, U.S. Department of Commerce, who presented the 2006 Coastal America Partnership Award to the Aquatic Invaders Toolkit Team. He presented the award on behalf of President George W. Bush and the 12 federal agencies of the Coastal America Partnership.
The introduction and spread of non-native species in waterways contributes to a costly ecosystem imbalance, often destroying populations of native species. In the Great Lakes region, common invasives include zebra mussels, round gobies, and in wetland areas, purple loosestrife.
Aquatic Invaders is a 20-minute program designed for use at zoos and aquariums around the country to arm audiences with knowledge that helps them avoid contributing to the spread of invasive species. "The presentation is highly interactive," said Robin Goettel, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) associate director for education. "For example, through the game of musical chairs, participants roleplay as invaders and native species while learning how invasives displace native species and how people can play an integral role in the process."
Goettel provided content for the Aquatic Invaders project based on IISG's Nab the ?Aquatic Invader!?  Web site (www.sgnis.org/kids). She also served as a program reviewer and is a member of the advisory committee.
The partnership awards and a letter from the president were presented to the lead agencies on the project: North Carolina Aquariums, North Carolina Sea Grant, AZA, Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service. The project team also drew upon expertise of two dozen representatives of the Sea Grant and AZA networks and partner agencies. Aquatic Invaders is funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?s National Sea Grant College Program.
The Coastal America Partnership was established in 1992 to protect, preserve and restore coastal watersheds by integrating federal actions with state and local government and non-governmental efforts. Federal partners include the Departments of Agriculture, Air Force, Army, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Navy, State and Transportation, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Executive Office of the President. To recognize outstanding partnership efforts, Coastal America established a national awards program in 1997.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of more than 30 National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines university, government, business and industry expertise to address coastal and Great Lakes needs.  Funding is provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U. S. Department of Commerce, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana.

Irene Miles
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
376 NSRC
1101 W. Peabody Dr.
Urbana, Il 61801
(217) 333-8055
FAX (217) 333-8046