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.

  • Agencies may respond to new discoveries of aquatic invasive species to prevent further spread or establishment of a species.
  • Response efforts may be complex, involving multiple agencies, and often depend availability of resources to implement response activities.
  • The likelihood of a successful response can be increased through advanced planning and the development of technologies to contain and/or eradicate AIS.

When a new species is detected, response efforts are crucial to preventing the establishment and spread of that species. In many cases, the speed of the response might determine its success. However, implementing a “rapid” response may not always be possible when efforts involve multiple jurisdictions; occur in large, highly connected ecosystems like the Great Lakes; or are otherwise complex, costly, and controversial.

Advanced planning and agreement on key response principles and criteria can facilitate coordination between local, state and federal agencies and organizations. Using a mutually agreed-upon process to determine whether a regional response is appropriate and feasible can inform key decisions, guide managers, and avoid delays due to miscommunication. This increases the likelihood that necessary response actions are initiated in a timely manner. Response plans are often developed and used for this purpose. A Great Lakes Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Interstate Response Framework  is currently under development to facilitate regional response to new AIS.

Availability of resources (financial or otherwise) may be another contributing factor in implementing a successful response. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers developed a Mutual Aid Agreement for Combating Aquatic Invasive Species Threats to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin as a tool to facilitate the sharing of resources between agencies for response activities.

Methods of responding to a new species are another important component of this strategy and will vary by species. A watch list of species predicted to invade the Great Lakes can be used to assess the availability of methods (e.g., selective biocides) to contain and effectively control these species. Understanding potential gaps in methods can inform future research investment to develop new or better response tools, and establish a policy framework that allows for available tools to be used in a timely manner.