The Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species Surveillance Framework (the Framework) has been developed to address the regional goal of establishing a comprehensive program for detecting and tracking newly identified aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the United States’ waters of the Great Lakes. The need to develop a comprehensive framework to guide and coordinate surveillance actions for any and all AIS threats within the Great Lakes has long been recognized and is an identified priority of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement - Annex on Aquatic Invasive Species.
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative set forth strategies to prevent introductions of invasive species, detect and respond to the introduction of new species, and control existing AIS to reduce impacts. Many of these strategies are also reflected in Great Lakes state and provincial AIS legislation and management plans. If successful, AIS management strategies will stop the establishment of new invasive species and help protect the Great Lakes from further degradation.
Prevent new species introductions
Preventing the introduction of new species is the most cost-effective approach to minimize future threats from AIS. Implementation and enforcement of policy, outreach and education to change behavior, and adoption of voluntary best practices are examples of prevention strategies. These strategies are intended to reduce the risk of uptake, movement and introduction of non-native species, and can be applied to any of the pathways that introduce AIS into the Great Lakes basin.
Specific strategies have been developed for each of the major pathways of introduction:
- Trade in live organisms
- Recreational boating
Detect and respond to new introductions
Early detection monitoring and response programs complement prevention efforts.A successful surveillance program aims to detect new introductions 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.
The amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA 2012 – AIS Annex 6) identifies the need for a comprehensive strategy for detecting and tracking new invasive species. The strategy should cover three dimensions:
- Species: Which species pose the greatest risk of introduction?
- Sites: Where monitoring should occur to maximize probability that these high-risk species are detected early?
- Methods: How can we design our surveys and methods to maximize early detection success?
Together, these three dimensions help AIS managers allocate resources for the greatest impact.
Control established species to reduce impacts
Species specific strategies exist for some key AIS.
These strategies include:
- Developing effective control methods for specific AIS
- Controlling specific AIS at sites or regional scales to reduce or prevent impacts, or facilitate restoration of fisheries, threatened species, recreational access, or other ecosystem services
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