Abstract: Risk-based prioritization for early detection monitoring is of utmost importance to prevent and mitigate invasive species impacts and is especially needed for large ecosystems where management resources are not sufficient to survey all locations susceptible to invasion.
This document details the method used to develop the Great Lakes Surveillance Framework Watch List.
Through the Aquatic Invasive Species Annex of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the United States and Canada have committed to “… contribute to the achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement. Through this Annex the Parties shall establish a binational strategy to prevent the introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), to control or reduce the spread of existing AIS, and to eradicate, where feasible, existing AIS within the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.”
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force works to stop the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. Since its inception, the Task Force has coordinated state and provincial efforts to combat AIS through strategic regional action.
The Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species coordinates education, research, management and policy efforts to prevent new AIS from entering the basin and to control and mitigate those AIS populations already established. The Great Lakes Panel is one of six regional panels that report to the federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, which coordinates AIS efforts on a federal level.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a multi-agency collaboration that provides funding to federal agencies that work to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Both United States and Canadian agencies have been the recipients of GLRI funding across a broad scope of projects.
The GLRI Action Plan III for fiscal years 2020-2024 focuses on five important categories:
- Spreading the word about the wonders and value of Great Lakes coastal wetlands to the public can help to inspire popular support for conservation projects related to wetland protection and restoration.
- The Great Lakes Coastal Assembly also supports higher education opportunities for science students who plan to begin a career in wetland biology and/or conservation.
- Grants and other funding opportunities are the foundation for creating projects that benefit coastal wetland ecosystems.
- The Coastal Assembly supports the continuation of existing grants and funding, and the development of new opportunities for investments in the future of coastal wetlands and the people that care for them.
- Evidence for economic and social benefits provided by Great Lakes coastal wetlands can be an important driver of investments
- Documenting this vital connection supports the decision to protect or restore wetlands to their original function
- Monitoring the status and trends of habitats and species is critical to informing conservation decisions and allocating resources.
- The Coastal Assembly endorses the need for science-based monitoring for status and trends that can validate actions that will improve native species populations and provide for sustainable habitats for future growth.
- The Coastal Assembly promotes the conservation, restoration and management of Great Lakes coastal wetland habitats with an emphasis on supporting self-sustaining populations of diverse native species.
- This strategy includes active management to ensure that habitats and ecosystems are functioning well enough to meet the needs of native species.
Many of our coastal wetlands have been permanently lost. But how are we doing with protecting what we have? Reporting the percentage of Great Lakes coastal wetlands that are protected can help focus efforts to preserve them where they are most needed.
This metric shows the percentage of wetlands protected at a glance, to highlight progress to-date and where we can do more.
The Governments of Canada and the United States are pleased to release the 2019 State of the Great Lakes Highlights Report, which provides an overview of the status and trends of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Overall, Great Lakes water quality is assessed as “fair and unchanging.” While progress to restore and protect the Great Lakes has occurred, including the reduction of toxic chemicals, challenges cited in the report include invasive species and excess nutrients that contribute to toxic and nuisance algae.
The Coastal Assembly pursues strategies to improve collaboration, establish basin-wide conservation goals, track progress, and adjust actions on a regular basis.
The five main strategies are described below:
Welcome to the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands online explorer, provided by Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI). Through a binational collaborative project between Canada and the United States, the team has been working to better measure and map coastal wetland features and hydrologic changes through time at fine resolution. Several remote sensing derived products have been developed for monitoring wetland type, extent and inundation of Great Lakes coastal wetlands.
Amphibians (mostly frogs and toads) are intimately connected to water, literally able to breathe underwater through their skin. With this close association with water, they are especially sensitive to changes in wetland habitats. A community of wetland breeding frogs can indicate that a wetland is healthy and functioning well.
To address the risks posed by invasive species, New York has developed an Invasive Species Comprehensive Management Plan (ISCMP), to encompass all current and future invasive species taxa and the suite of ecosystem types (e.g., terrestrial, freshwater, and marine) found across the State. The ISCMP was designed to highlight the great work that has already done by promoting existing programs and methods that have been successful, while identifying structures and processes to help guide invasive species management into the future.
The Rapid Response Framework for Invasive Species is designed to provide resource managers with a defined response system and list of procedures that can be initiated upon discovery of a new invasive species infestation. The goal of this policy is to promote timely decision-making and communication in the event of a new invasive species infestation while limiting authority conflicts and duplication of effort.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its federal partners are developing Action Plan III, which will outline priorities and goals for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action (GLRI) for fiscal years 2020-2024.