The Great Lakes ecosystem has been severely damaged by more than 180 invasive and non-native species. These programs range from local to federal in scope. The "FishPass" project will replace an aging Traverse City dam, and use multiple techniques to keep harmful invasive species, like sea lamprey, out of Lake Michigan. LeSage said EGLE will continue trying to work with the EPA to get stricter regulations. In its submitted comments to the EPA, the coalition, “found numerous and substantial flaws which will interfere with and undermine Great Lakes protection.”. Great Lakes bottomlands and St. Clair Flats bottomlands: The blooms are just below the water surface of fresh water habitats and may appear as foggy green/yellow water. Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. He said it goes against the intent Congress had when it passed VIDA in the first place. Today, the United States and Canada require that most ships entering the Great Lakes exchange their ballast water while still at sea to reduce the transport and introduction of new species. Zebra mussels have been linked to food web disruptions and blooms of microsystis, a blue-green algae with toxic properties. But states controlling the waterways were also allowed to issue their own permits or have additional standards the vessels would have to meet. Anyone who lives in the Great Lakes knows they’re special. There’s no going back. Mechanical management. Prohibited in Michigan Cylindro is one of many species of blue-green algae and is considered invasive and harmful. All Rights Reserved. Rusty crayfish are native to Ohio and Kentucky, but have spread to several Great Lakes states and beyond. Another unfortunately very common invasive species in Michigan (and one of the most destructive), purple loosestrife is still often purchased and planted by gardeners and landscapers due to its beautiful, tall purple blooms. “Lake Michigan now almost looks like open Caribbean water,” said Hugh MacIsaac, an invasive species biologist from the University of Windsor in Ontario. However, Lake Michigan still had more of its near-shore waters in poor condition than Superior, Huron or Ontario, underscoring that even a lake with acceptable phosphorus levels overall can still have localized problems. Species such as the zebra mussel, quagga mussel, round goby, sea lamprey, and alewife reproduce and spread, ultimately degrading habitat, out-competing native species, and … Marc Smith, policy director for the National Wildlife Federation, calls the new system, “an imperfect solution to having one comprehensive, strong federal program.”. “It’s not just a free ride where you get to just come into the Great Lakes and ignore a very important issue of regulation,” Kirkwood said. He accuses the EPA of not considering the most updated, available technology. They’re worried that without tighter restrictions - or allowing the state to keep making its own restrictions - invasive species will continue to permeate the lakes. As well as prohibiting them from dumping ballast water in the Great Lakes. Tinca tinca, stone moroko, parrot feather and yellow floating heart are a few of the unwanteds on the list. Phragmites australis (frag-MY-teez), also known as common reed, is a perennial, wetland grass that can grow to 15 feet in height.While Phragmites australis is native to Michigan, an invasive, non-native, variety of phragmites is becoming widespread and is threatening the ecological health of wetlands and the Great Lakes coastal shoreline. Permits for Controlling Invasive Species When do I need a permit to control or manage invasive species? Another invasive species in Lake Michigan that's creating unusual impacts and causing irreversible damage is mussels. Invasive carp includes Bighead Carp, Black Carp, Grass Carp and Silver Carp. Kirkwood said while many ships operating in the Great Lakes only move throughout the Great Lakes, there’s still a concern for spreading invasive plant and other nonnative organisms from one lake to the other. Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio. Scientists estimate the Great Lakes have been invaded by more than 180 species and cost more than $200 million annually in lost revenue and prevention strategies. Environmentalists said a crucial flaw in the proposed rules is an exemption for “lakers,” or large ships that, although they only operate within the Great Lakes, are known to spread invasive species from one waterway to another. Phragmites. Once invasive species are established in the Great Lakes, it is nearly impossible to remove them. Please support high-quality journalism. Invasive species are perhaps the greatest stressor currently facing the Great Lakes aquatic ecosystem. The ones with arguably the most devastating impact are much less frightful-looking than sea lampreys: the tiny zebra and quagga mussels, which are believed to have entered the lakes in the late 1980s in ballast water from ocean-going ships. Smith said the EPA’s reasoning is flawed and that the standards are not based on the best technology. Invasive species can alter ecological relationships among native species and can affect ecosystem function, economic value of ecosystems and human health. The mussels came to the Great Lakes in ballast water from ocean-going freighters and have since spread to hundreds of inland lakes. Great Lakes Now is hosting a live chat about invasive species with the Belle Isle Conservancy on Friday, Aug. 7. “So, depending on the source, it’s between maybe 55 and 70% of introductions. Aquatic invasive species that are common in Michigan lakes include zebra mussels, Eurasian milfoil, purple loosestrife and common reed. In Lake Michigan, however, boats associated with these industries and others have introduced invasive species as they move between bodies … Michigan’s a leader in invasive species Tinca tinca, stone moroko, parrot feather and yellow floating heart are a few of the unwanteds on the list. The EPA must finalize the national standards of performance for incidental discharges this month, and getting them right is crucial to the health of the Great Lakes, said EGLE’s aquatic invasive species program coordinator, Sarah LeSage. Finally, in June 2005, the state of Michigan passed a law and a set of regulations requiring salt-water-going vessels to use various technologies to kill invasive species while in ships' ballast. Should Asian carps establish in the Great Lakes, they could become competition for native fish and harm existing aquatic populations. One of the big concerns Great Lakes Basin groups have is that the rules do not treat the Great Lakes and its ecosystem as unique. Lakers comprise about 95% of the ships working in the Great Lakes, Kirkwood said. “The whole premise of VIDA is to develop a national standard. Phosphorus also intersects with another big ecological problem in the Great Lakes: invasive species. Native to Eurasia, some North American nurseries argue that it has value here in its ability to attract pollinators – however, its detriments far outweigh this. The Great Lakes ecosystem has been severely damaged by more than 180 invasive and non-native species. Asian carp are one invasive species which have been located in the waterways that lead into Lake Michigan. We work on two fronts to … Continued This Halloween, we’re getting spooky with some invasive species that have invaded the lakes – and more species threatening to cause havoc if we don’t stop them. Read the … In the early 20th century, Sea lampreys arrived and began to attack the remaining large predator fish native to Lake Michigan. Once invasive species are established in the Great Lakes, it is nearly impossible to remove them. “They are going to ramrod this thing through as fast as they can,” he said. Check out the event page here for more details. Not all of those will become harmful species...but that’s the way a lot of species have historically arrived into the Great Lakes. What do Asian carp, zebra mussel and quagga mussles have in common? “Aquatic invasive species represent an incredible threat to the health of our Great Lakes ecosystem, and this is an example of the the absolute interconnectedness of all these waters,” said Liz Kirkwood, executive director of For Love of Water (FLOW). These include fish, invertebrates, microscopic organisms, and aquatic plants. Ships collect ballast water to give the vessel stability and maneuverability during a trip when not carrying cargo, not carrying heavy enough cargo, or when a ship needs more stability due to rough seas. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to completely eradicate the species once it is established. Aquatic invasive species may be the most significant threat to the health of the Great Lakes. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. The Environmental Protection Agency is mulling rules that opponents say don’t take the unique needs of the Great Lakes into consideration - and could put the lakes at risk for invasive species. This species, native to the Atlantic Ocean, spread throughout the Great Lakes through the creation of man-made canals. Each Great Lakes state and province have made efforts toward preventing the spread of invasive species, through campaigns, removal programs and research efforts. “So it puts us in a tough spot, right? The central question to eradicating any invasive species is “can you remove more individuals than the population is capable of replenishing?” said Jones. But underneath the waves is a fragile ecosystem that interconnects a complex food web critical to the overall health of the Great Lakes. That’s a a trade organization serving bulk cargo vessels on the Great Lakes. But while their economic importance shouldn’t be understated, she said there is also a major cost to continually trying to fight invasive species. The Invasive Mussel Collaborative is a joint project of the Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the … ". So that leaves a huge gap in our efforts to keep the invasive species out,” Smith said. In all there are more than 180 invasive species of plants and animals in the Great Lakes. Invasive plant and animal species pose an enormous threat to Michigan's biodiversity and economic well-being. Researchers scrape the dock's wooden pilings for zebra mussels, counting them to track the density of the invasive species in the lake. Scientists estimate the Great Lakes have been invaded by more than 180 species and cost more than $200 million annually in lost revenue and prevention strategies. The Dec. 11 meeting also featured […] Preventing them from ever entering is the best way to protect the Great Lakes. “EPA decided to exempt those laker vessels from regulation. Shipwrecks & Aquatic Invasive Species. Scientists recently reported pronounced reductions in both cladophora algae and quagga mussel density in Lake Michigan’s offshore waters near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore after an underwater project by the Invasive Mussel Collaborative. Folger said it's easy for people not to see the fragility of the Great Lakes. Mechanical management typically includes hand-pulling, mowing, raking cutting, prescribed burning and water level management or flooding. Ships often take on ballast water for better balance, stability and safety. So Great, So Fragile: Great Lakes, Lake Michigan health depend on keeping invasive species out abc7chicago.com - Cheryl Scott. 1 Among the species considered invasive in Michigan waters are zebra mussels, quagga mussels, sea lamprey, round goby, Eurasian ruffe, spiny waterflea and fish hook waterflea. Unfortunately, Michigan inland lakes are threatened with several invasive crayfish species. In the proposed rules, the EPA explained the lack of regulation saying lakers were unable to meet the discharge requirements the rules put on sea-going vessels, due to a lack of available technology. In an email to MLive, an EPA spokesperson said the department worked with “Maritime Administration and the Great Waters Research Collaborative, a project of the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Lake Superior Research Institute, to research, develop, and pilot ballast water management systems for use by commercial vessels operating solely within the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Systems.”, The spokesperson further said, “the proposed discharge standards are based on best available technology economically achievable and in the form of numeric effluent limits and best management practices.”. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a list of invasive species in the state that residents should be aware of and report if spotted. Many invasive species in the Great Lakes were transported from foreign ports in the ballast water of ocean-going freighters. Since the 1800s, at least 25 non-native fish species – like the sea lamprey, zebra mussel or round goby – have entered the Great Lakes, changing the Great Lakes ecosystem in a variety of ways. Scientists recently reported pronounced reductions in both cladophora algae and quagga mussel density in Lake Michigan's offshore waters near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore after an underwater project by the Invasive Mussel Collaborative. While the names sound interesting and exotic, the results of these species establishing themselves in Great Lakes waters could be devastating. Zebra and quagga mussels have dramatically changed the ecology of the Great Lakes. Invasive Species in Michigan: A Quick Look Michigan has been invaded by a number of harmful exotic plants and animals. “Lake Michigan now almost looks like open Caribbean water,” said Hugh MacIsaac, an invasive species biologist from the University of Windsor in Ontario. Laura Bourgeau-Chavez and Colin Brooks—research scientists at the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)—and Casey Huckins, a professor of biology at Michigan Tech, are leading projects to develop better management strategies to protect the state's shorelines along the Great Lakes. LELAND — Northwest Lower Michigan's national park proved a fruitful natural laboratory for an invasive species study. CHICAGO (WLS) -- On the surface of Lake Michigan, glistening water rushes over sandy beaches. So I’m not sure. While carp and sea lamprey are well known, there are other invasive species that aren’t as famous but still pose a big problem. Alewife [exit DNR] Big Head Carp [exit DNR] Rainbow Smelt [exit DNR] Ruffe [exit DNR] Round Goby [exit DNR] Silver Carp [exit DNR] Sea Lamprey [exit DNR] White Perch [exit DNR] Zooplankton. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. Preventing them from ever entering is the best way to protect the Great Lakes. So Great, So Fragile: Episodic series focuses on Great Lakes, Partnerships seek solutions to protect majesty of Great Lakes, Congress OKs Great Lakes cleanup program extension, Great Lakes, Lake Michigan ecosystems endangered by pollution, plastics, IL reports 7,037 cases, 96 COVID-19 deaths, Republicans block $2K stimulus checks despite Trump demand, Woman, boy fatally struck in hit-and-run in Gage Park: police, Jeremih shares details of fight for his life against COVID-19. Michigan’s a leader in invasive species. In the early 20th century, Sea lampreys arrived and began to attack the remaining large predator fish native to Lake Michigan. LIVE NORAD Santa Tracker - See where he is now! “It’s extremely important, especially in the Great Lakes region, to create and temper the regulations to have the variations that are are needed.”. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus’s series of quarterly meetings for 2020 closed out with a presentation on aquatic invasive species and ballast water management from Sarah LeSage, who coordinates the Aquatic Invasive Species program in the Water Resources Division of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Scientists recently reported pronounced reductions in both cladophora algae and quagga mussel density in Lake Michigan’s offshore waters near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore after an underwater project by the Invasive Mussel Collaborative. Invasive sea lamprey, the Great Lakes' biggest predator, primarily feed on lake trout, one of the lakes' most prized sports fish. "So, like the zebra and quagga mussels came here in the 80s. Invasive species—like zebra mussels and round gobies—have forever damaged the Great Lakes. The rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) is already a common invasive in Michigan waters. 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