Invasive Species Advocacy
The Great Lakes Commission advocates for strong, sustained actions to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, which threaten the health of the lakes and the benefits they provide for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River community.
Congress and the Administration should support efforts to prevent and control aquatic invasive species (AIS) from all pathways by providing funding for programs established under the National Invasive Species Act, including the national task force, regional panels and state management plans; providing funding for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s sea lamprey control program; strengthening federal programs to prevent the importation of invasive species not already established in the U.S.; providing funding and direction to the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. EPA to coordinate with Illinois and other states and provinces as they implement existing Asian carp monitoring and response plans; and completing the Brandon Road Feasibility Study as quickly as practicable while continuing to work on a long-term solution to prevent all AIS transfer between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.
To be determined
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are recognized as one of the most significant threats to the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region. Progress is being made to reduce threats of new invasions and the damage from species already introduced, including successful efforts like the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Sea Lamprey Control program. However, the Great Lakes region remains vulnerable to AIS introductions from various pathways. Asian carp are just the latest example of this national problem. Preventing new invasive species introductions and controlling those already present is a priority for regional leaders and should be a priority for Congress and federal agencies.
The National Invasive Species Act established an effective federal framework for coordinating AIS prevention and control through the national Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and six regional AIS panels. This program also supports state efforts by providing funding to implement state management plans for AIS prevention and control. These programs, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), ensure resources are used effectively.
The USFWS also leads federal efforts to prevent harmful species from being introduced via the trade in live animals under provisions of the Lacey Act. The agency should continue using these existing authorities to identify and restrict the importation of potentially harmful non-native species. Legislation is also being considered that would strengthen these authorities.
Important monitoring, research and control efforts to stop the spread of invasive Asian carp are being implemented by federal and state partners under the Asian Carp Action Plan. These efforts must continue in close coordination with Illinois and the other Great Lakes states. The Army Corps of Engineers’ Brandon Road Feasibility Study will provide a plan for establishing a single point to control one-way, upstream AIS transfer from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes basin near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois. A comprehensive, long-term solution to prevent all AIS from transferring between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds is still needed. The Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee recommended further study of a system of possible control points in Chicago-area waterways to prevent AIS transfer while considering impacts on flooding, water quality, recreation and barge transportation in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana.
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Great Lakes Commission