Invasive Species

Credit US Department of Agriculture

The Great Lakes ecosystem has been severely damaged by more than 180 invasive and non-native species. Species such as the sea lamprey, zebra mussel and alewife degrade habitat, out-compete native species and damage the fishing industry.

Ways to Connect

Angelica Morrison

President Trump's budget priorities have put funding for the Great Lakes in danger.

His 2018 budget outline eliminated $300 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has backed hundreds of projects on pollution, invasive species and other topics. For a while, it looked like he might also grab $50 million in initiative funds in the current budget.

But at least the $50 million is safe.

For years, the folks who protect the Great Lakes have warned about the dangers of ballast water discharges -- because they can carry invasive species. Now a study by Michigan State researchers shows that ballast water also can contain viruses dangerous to wildlife and humans, Great Lakes Echo reports.

Can we sell cattails -- and save wetlands?

Oct 28, 2016

Standing in the middle of Michigan's Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, it’s hard to comprehend the size. It’s about two-thirds the size of Manhattan – some 10,000 acres of marshes and bogs, forest and farm land.

Everywhere you look; there’s a hawk or a heron. Bushes rustle with rodents; and the air is filled with mosquitos.

Here, researchers are tackling invasive cattails -- a common problem in wetlands across the Great Lakes.  

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Ontario's environmental watchdog has some harsh words about the government's handling of invasive species in the Great Lakes and other areas.

In a sweeping report issued this week, Dianne Saxe, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario,
says that "with few exceptions, there is little indication that the Ontario government is taking concrete actions to prevent the introduction of invaders, detect them early on in an invasion, or manage and monitor species that are already doing damage."

NYS DEC / Hydrilla

The Great Lakes Commission created a web tool designed to prevent sales of aquatic invasive species over the Internet. Now, the commission is working to get it into the hands of state and federal regulators.


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