Considerable resources have been dedicated to controlling AIS populations where they are established in the Great Lakes region.
More than 188 non-native species are established in the Great Lakes, a proportion of which are considered invasive and are causing ecological and/or economic damage. While significant progress is being made to prevent the introduction and establishment of new AIS, damaging populations of AIS that already exist should be controlled and managed to reduce their negative impacts.
Diversity of Funding Sources
Funding sources for AIS work are varied and include grant programs administered by non-profit organizations, private sector funding initiatives, and base agency budgets set annually through state, provincial, and federal legislatures. Federal funding in the U.S. includes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which was established and funded in 2010 to address the major threats to Great Lakes ecosystems and drinking waters, including AIS. For more information about GLRI and funding, visit www.glri.us.
GLRI Data Source Limitations
GLRI data presented here is derived from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA)Environmental Accomplishments in the Great Lakes (EAGL) database of federally-dispersed GLRI funds (i.e., FY2010-2015 funding dispersed directly to recipients for project implementation), including associated data metrics and project descriptions. A set of search terms and functions relevant to AIS research and management was used to identify AIS projects within the EAGL database. The information presented here does not include funding data for invasive carp projects. For complete information about Asian Carp Action Plan funding and projects, visit www.asiancarp.us
Investing in Successful Control
© New York Department of Environmental Conservation
Engaging with a variety of partners allows for control programs to operate widely and more effectively than a program that only involves agency staff. Local partners know their waterbodies well and have a personal interest in controlling AIS that impact their lives, and funding to support local control efforts supports their continued efforts:
- Federal, state, and local partners joined together in FY2016 to control invasive plants at Milwaukee County Zoo, providing a better landscape for visitors, both human and animal!
- The state of New York funds a long-term water chestnut control program implemented by the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District through their state AIS management plan, removing the aquatic plant that poses a severe hazard to boaters and swimmers
© Sam Tank/Great Lakes Commission
Many long-term control programs focus on a single species or a small suite of species. Funding control efforts in this way helps to manage widespread species that can cause significant impacts to the economic and ecological health of the Great Lakes region, and produces benefits to the entire ecosystem:
- A number of projects funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative focus on restoring critical habitat for birds and pollinators by controlling invasive plants, primarily Phragmites, purple loosestrife, and reed canary grass
- Projects that remove invasive animals, including crayfish and mussels, from spawning reefs in the Great Lakes provide fish like lake trout and whitefish with a safe place to spawn
Tools and Methods
Tools and Methods
© Reilly Manz/Great Lakes Commission
Research in developing effective and safe control tools produces updated methods that minimize impacts to native species and can provide new tools to control invasive species that can’t be controlled through existing methods. Funding for this research supports innovation in controlling invasive species:
- The state of Michigan has partnered with universities and private research labs to develop and test new control methods for red swamp crayfish, a species that was first discovered in Michigan in 2017
- The states of Indiana and Minnesota have each funded ongoing research into control tools for starry stonewort, a macroalgae for which effective methods of control do not yet exist
© Sam Tank/Great Lakes Commission
A collaborative approach to control aligns science and management goals into a common agenda. It brings together federal, state, and provincial agency staff, academic researchers, and local stakeholders to collectively set priorities for managing a specific invasive species of concern. Funding for invasive species collaboratives has been a cornerstone of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative since its inception, including:
- The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative was established in 2012 as a partnership to link people, information, and action on Phragmites, an aggressive invasive plant. The Phragmites Adaptive Management Program, a key component of the collaborative, utilizes a computer-based, predictive model to provide program participants with site-specific management guidance that is optimized to reduce Phragmites, while minimizing management costs
- The Invasive Mussel Collaborative, established in 2015, is advancing scientifically sound technology for zebra and quagga mussel control. In 2018, the collaborative released a management strategy to reduce invasive mussels and their negative impacts in the Great Lakes