The Great Lakes Water Quality AgreementGreat Lakes Restoration Initiative, and Great Lakes state and provincial AIS management plans set forth strategies to accomplish shared goals. Successful implementation of AIS management strategies will stop the spread and establishment of new invasive species and protect the Great Lakes from further degradation.

Preventing the introduction of new non-native species is the most cost-effective approach to minimize future threats from AIS. Prevention strategies are intended to reduce the risk of uptake, movement and introduction of non-native species, and may be applied to any of the pathways that introduce AIS into the Great Lakes basin: trade in live organisms, recreational activities, shipping, and canals and waterways. Prevention strategies include:

  • adopting and enforcing policies and regulations targeting specific pathways and species
  • outreach and education to change behaviors that facilitate species introductions
  • implementing technologies and adopting voluntary best practices to minimize risk

Early detection (i.e., monitoring) and response programs are intended to detect introductions of new non-native species early while populations are still localized. Early detection increases the likelihood that response efforts to contain, control, and ideally eradicate new populations will be effective. A comprehensive basin-wide approach is needed to coordinate and guide detection and response efforts. Detection and response strategies included in an effective approach include:

  • identifying, prioritizing and monitoring for species that pose the greatest risk of introduction (Species)
  • identifying, prioritizing and monitoring high-risk sites to maximize probability that high-risk species are detected early (Sites)
  • identifying and utilizing effective monitoring methods and survey designs to detect new introductions early (Methods)
  • responding to newly detected species using technologies to contain, control or eradicate them

More than 185 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 managed to reduce their negative impacts. Agencies and other partners are developing and implementing control strategies for priority species that include:

  • developing effective control methods for specific AIS
  • developing research and management plans for specific AIS to coordinate agency activities
  • managing specific AIS at various scales to reduce or prevent impacts, or facilitate restoration of fisheries, threatened species, recreational access, or other benefits

Content on this page is updated regularly. Check back often or follow @BlueAccounting on Twitter for updates.

Use the filters below to see the strategies being used to achieve regional goals.

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Prevent: Trade in Live Organisms Pathway

Policies to restrict the trade of high-risk species, best practices for industries involved in the sale and distribution of live organisms, and outreach to consumers are all used to reduce the risk of spreading AIS.

Prevent: Recreational Boating Pathway

Policies and best management practices to clean boats, along with related gear and equipment, are used to reduce the risk that boats move AIS between bodies of water.

Prevent: Shipping Pathway

Ballast water treatment systems, related technologies and best management practices are developed and used on ships – voluntarily and as required by law – to reduce the risk of transporting and releasing AIS.

Prevent: Canals and Waterways Pathway

Different types of barrier methods and technologies are developed and used to modify or close canals and waterways to reduce the risk of AIS moving between watersheds.

Detect: Basin Framework

A regional framework is used to help guide and coordinate monitoring activities for aquatic invasive species across the Great Lakes Basin.

Detect: Species

A “watch list” of species that pose the greatest threat to the Great Lakes is used to inform and help target monitoring efforts.

Detect: Sites

Sites across the Great Lakes Basin are assessed to identify and prioritize the most likely points of introduction for new AIS.

Detect: Methods

Effective monitoring tools and survey designs are used to detect new species soon after they are introduced for the least amount of effort and cost.



Response plans and technologies are used to guide actions when a new high-risk species is detected and increase the likelihood the species will be eradicated or contained.

Control Established Species

Agencies, universities, private industry and others are developing and implementing control efforts for established AIS to reduce their negative impacts.