A “watch list” of species that pose the greatest threat to the Great Lakes is used to inform and help target monitoring efforts.
- Non-native species are assessed to determine whether they pose a risk to the Great Lakes Basin and whether and how they might be introduced.
- Knowing which species pose the greatest threat to the Great Lakes allows agencies and others to target limited resources toward looking for those species.
- A regional framework for Great Lakes early detection includes a watch list of high-risk species to inform AIS early detection efforts across the Basin.
Identifying species that pose a threat to the Great Lakes is an important strategy within an early detection program because it informs what to look for, and where and how to look for them. This increases the likelihood that high-risk species are detected soon after introduction which increases the potential for a successful management response. Species risk assessments are used to evaluate species likelihood of being introduced to and surviving in the Great Lakes, their potential impact, and other risk factors.
The species watch list below identifies species that are likely to have a high or moderate ecological and/or socioeconomic impact if they established in or spread to new locations in the Great Lakes Basin. The watch list was compiled using several regional risk assessment sources and was developed as part of the Aquatic Invasive Species Interstate Surveillance Framework for the U.S. Waters of the Great Lakes (the Framework). Species on the watch list meet the following criteria:
- A pathway exists that could move the species into the Great Lakes
- The species is likely to tolerate/survive transport in the identified pathway
- The species has a probability of being introduced through the pathway multiple times or in large numbers
- The species is likely to be able to successfully establish, reproduce and spread in the Great Lakes
- The species has been known to invade other areas
- The species is likely to have a high or medium impact on ecological or socio-economic values
A small number of species are the subject of species-specific early detection efforts under other monitoring plans that undergo annual review and refinement. For example, the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee coordinates targeted early detection and response for silver and bighead carp.