IISG’s Pat Charlebois and Sarah Zack were members of a committee on recreational water use, and Pat co-chaired a committee on water garden guidelines, both aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through these two pathways. The committees recently completed their report, Voluntary Guidelines to Prevent the Introduction and Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species; Recreational Activities and Water Gardening, which provides guidelines for recreational water users and water gardeners to follow.
The steps listed include cleaning, draining, and drying all recreational equipment (boats, vests, trailers, etc.) following a day on the water (for recreational water users), and purchasing/planting native plants or properly disposing of unwanted specimens (for water gardeners).
There are more simple steps outlined in the two documents that can help prevent the spread of invasive species through these two pathways, as well as information about the importance of protecting waterways and native ecosystems. Visit the links above to read the complete reports, and visit our “Be A Hero – Transport Zero” and “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” webpages for additional information.
*Note: This post originally listed Pat Charlebois as a co-chair of the recreational water users committee and omitted Sarah Zack’s participation. The text has been corrected.
Researchers are reporting that they have found DNA evidence of an invasive fish, Eurasian ruffe, in the southern Lake Michigan waters.
“The Nature Conservancy said a team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame, Central Michigan University and its own organization found evidence of DNA of Eurasian ruffe in Calumet Harbor, south of Chicago.
Two positive samples from the harbor were collected on July 8. The harbor is at the mouth of the Chicago-area waterway system. Environmental DNA is a surveillance tool that can be used to monitor the genetic presence of aquatic species.
The waterway system is part of an engineered canal that provides an artificial link between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River basin and has been infiltrated with invasive Asian carp from the Mississippi for years.
That same system has the potential to introduce Eurasian ruffe in the Mississippi, according to the Nature Conservancy. The group said the genetic findings underscore the need for a permanent barrier to block species from moving between the Great Lakes and Mississippi systems.”
Read the complete article at the link above to learn more about this invasive species and the test results.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program, aimed at protecting and managing the state’s Lake Michigan shoreline, recently announced the recipients of an inaugural round of grant funding.
Among the projects selected for their ability to restore, protect, and maintain the beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s “AIS Outreach to Coastal Constituents” project was chosen for its ability to positively impact the Lake. The project, which seeks to continue spreading information and education about invasive species and their dangers to the Great Lakes, will help consumers, businesses, and residents better understand the dangers of invasive species and the simple steps that can prevent their introduction or spread.
Sarah Zack, IISG Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist, looks forward to beginning this outreach project. “This award will allow the IISG AIS outreach team to educate a wide variety of people throughout the Lake Michigan coastal area about the threat AIS pose to our waters, since it provides for outreach to diverse groups – including water gardeners and recreational water users. We’re very excited to get started.”
The project will also build on the “Be a Hero – Transport Zero” campaign, which has already informed thousands of people in the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana areas about these aquatic invaders.
Look for further developments and information about these damaging species and how everyone can help prevent their transportation and spread throughout Illinois’ waterways.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are collaborating on a new campaign to get boaters, fishers, divers, and everyone who loves spending time on the water involved in protecting the environment.
“Be a Hero – Transport Zero” is a multi-season message that strikes at one of the big problems facing our waterways – aquatic invasive species. With three simple steps, though, everyone can help stop the spread of these aquatic invaders. Each time you leave a body of water, just take a minute to go through these easy procedures:
– Remove any plants, animals, and mud from boats, trailers and equipment
– Drain everything (bait buckets, live wells, etc.)
– Dry everything with a towel
From boaters and kayakers to waterfowl hunters, scuba divers, sea plane operators, and more, everyone can help prevent invasive species from taking over their favorite waterways with these three actions.
Governors of the Great Lakes states and Canadian officials have recently vowed to work more closely to combat aquatic invasive species that threaten the Great Lakes system, but disagreements over the best course(s) of action linger.
From The Detroit News:
“But the difficult balancing act of weighing the economic and transportation interests of the eight states and two Canadian providences against the long-term ecological stability of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway was on full display Saturday at the Mackinac Island summit of regional officials.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, whose state has faced criticism and lawsuits for moving too slow to combat the invading Asian carp, surprised fellow governors by shifting the state’s position to support the sealing off of the manmade Chicago waterways that connect the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes.
‘Ultimately, I think we have to separate the basins,’ Quinn said at the first meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors in eight years. ‘I really feel that is the ultimate solution. We have to do it.’
Quinn’s endorsement of separating the two basins, seen as a potential breakthrough by environmentalists, was criticized by neighboring Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, even as the Great Lakes leaders sought to appear united on other issues at the summit.
Pence said his state remains opposed to closing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal’s connection to Mississippi River tributaries that provide a southern transportation route for freighters carrying $1.9 billion in goods annually from Indiana factories and farms.”
Read the complete article at the link above.