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

  • Early detection efforts increase the likelihood that newly introduced species will be discovered if prevention efforts fail and provides an opportunity to respond to new introductions
  • A regional early detection strategy identifies priorities for monitoring and facilitates coordinated decision-making and implementation among multiple agencies

Early detection for newly introduced species is an important aquatic invasive species management strategy. The results of early detection monitoring efforts can indicate whether prevention strategies are working. If a new species is detected, agencies may then be able to act to prevent additional introductions, and/or stop population growth and expansion of that species. Multiple agencies and other partners are conducting early detection monitoring efforts in the Great Lakes region. A comprehensive early detection strategy for the Great Lakes Basin is a specific commitment in Annex 6 of the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

The Aquatic Invasive Species Interstate Surveillance Framework for the U.S. Waters of the Great Lakes (the Framework)1 establishes a comprehensive, basin-wide strategy for detecting new introductions of AIS. The Framework is intended to guide and help coordinate monitoring activities for AIS threats within the Great Lakes. Part 1 of the Framework provides strategic guidance for decision makers on when, where and how monitoring efforts could be undertaken. Specifically, the Framework:

  • Determines a species watch list
  • Identifies priority locations for monitoring
  • Provides guidance on monitoring protocols

Part 2 of the Framework provides guidance on how state and federal partners could coordinate decision making for implementing and maintaining a Great Lakes early detection program. A complementary strategy for the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes is currently under development.


Development of the Framework was funded through a GLRI grant (F15AP00041) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). The effort was led by an Interstate Prevention, Early Detection and Rapid Response Team, comprised of representatives from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The team was formed in 2014 to collaborate on the development of tools and guiding documents to support state AIS management plans, and potential monitoring and response approaches.