The following updates were provided for the December 2-3, 2008 meeting of the Great Lakes Panel in Ypsilanti, Mich.
NOAA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are co-hosts for the 16th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species (ICAIS), scheduled for Montreal, Canada, April 19-23, 2009. The preliminary program, information about the conference venue, accomodations, and Registration are all available on-line at http://www.icais.org.
The NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR) has tentative plans to fund a project in CY2009 on invasives in the Great Lakes based on the results of the FY2007 Request for Proposals competition, which would have been funded in CY2008 if the budget had allowed. However, doing so in CY2009 is dependent on final resolution of the FY2009 NOAA appropriation and distribution of program budget allocations. NOAA is one of the agencies presently operating under a Continuing Resolution, potentially until March 2009 pending Congressional action. CSCOR would be amenable to collaborating with another agency on future joint funding of Great Lakes programs. Contact Felix Martinez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
GLERL research during 2008 was focused on the increasing effects of the quagga take-over of Lake Michigan. Field studies show that the traditional spring phytoplankton bloom has essentially disappeared. GLERL research suggests that this is a result of the extremely high filtration rates by quaggas over a broad range of temperature combined with their extensive bottom coverage at all depths. This is on top of the documented loss of substantial Diporeia biomass (none now found shallower than 90 m). It is possible there are synergies also arising from "the nearshore shunt" by which increased bottom plant growth in nearshore areas (due to increased water clarity from the filtering) is sucking the nutrients out of the near shore area, thus depriving offshore areas of nutrients that would normally flow from tributaries to the offshore region.. The wet biomass of mussels is now estimated to be 4x the wet biomass of all prey fish in Lake Michigan. There is evidence that the salmonid population has declined and also are of smaller size and weight. Similar changes are being noted in the other lakes. Overall these changes, all related to the spread of quagga mussels, spell a likely food web disaster for the Great Lakes. For more information, contact Dr. Henry Vanderploeg (email@example.com) or Thomas Nalepa (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GLERL, CILER, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center completed joint lab- and field-based research to test the salinity tolerance of a selection of freshwater and estuarine organisms found in various natural water bodies (organisms from areas within the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, Baltic Sea, and North Sea), in connection with the use of saltwater and potential use of high salinity NaCl solutions (brine) for reduction of invasion risk from ballast water discharge. Results have been published in two papers:
Santagata S., K. Bacela, D.F. Reid, K. Mclean, J.S. Cohen, J.R. Cordell, C. Brown, T.H. Johengen , and G.M. Ruiz. In Press. Eradicating ballast-tank organisms with sodium chloride treatments. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, In Press (advanced preprint available, contact David Reid (email@example.com)).
Santagata, S., Z.R. Gasiunaite, E. Verling, J.R. Cordell, K. Eason1, J.S. Cohen, K. Bacela, G. Quilez-Badia, T.H. Johengen, D.F. Reid, and G.M. Ruiz. 2008. Effect of osmotic shock as a management strategy to reduce transfers of nonindigenous species among low-salinity ports by ships. Aquat. Inv. 3(1), 61-76.
Available at http://www.aquaticinvasions.ru/2008/index1.html
GLERL and CILER are also participating with Canada DFO/Transport Canada/University of Windsor scientists in on-going shipboard testing of high salinity NaCl solution (brine) for treating ballast water.
Contact: David Reid, 734-741-2019, David.Reid@noaa.gov.
Two critical ANS species interactions with natural resources, botulism and VHSv, continue to be a focus of NPS efforts. The second year of botulism monitoring studies at Sleeping Bear Dunes has some surprising results. In 2007 they only identified birds as impacts. In 2008 personnel added lower food web components including benthic invertebrates and gobies. Data results from this survey are not available, but visual observations revealed the following. They found extensive beds of claudophra and quagga mussels in open sandy areas. They found very few zebra mussels.
VHS- emergency response planning moved from the scale of four Parks and tribal jurisdictions to developing a prototype of a Park specific direct response plan should monitoring or a fish kill indicate VHSv within a Park's boundaries.
With USCG Ballast program leader, Commander Croot, NPS developed a proposal for the National ANS taskforce to convene a subcommittee on vetting emergency treatment proposals of high risk ships and groundings. This proposal was approved. NPS is evaluating putting the M.V. Ranger III into the STEP program. We are in the process of reviewing who benefits: the number of ships in that size class; partnership opportunities with industry and appropriate academia or organizations such as GSI.
The Midwest Regional Office has recently completed a draft plan (attached) which includes ANS and other issues for managing our freshwater Parks. This will be included in a national oceans and inland seas strategy being developed by the Park Service and Department of Interior.
Contact: Phyllis Green, Phyllis_Green@nps.gov or Gary Vequist, Gary_vequist@nps.gov.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) is beginning a new project spearheaded by Oregon Sea Grant focusing on the "AIS-in-the-classroom" pathway with teachers, curriculum developers and biological supply houses (BSH); IISG will be leading the BSH component of this multi-pronged project. The Brazilian elodea and hydrilla WATCH card is at the printer and will be available by the end of the year. IISG hosted COSEE's (Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) week-long Lake Michigan Exploration Workshop for teachers, which contained a full day on invasive species. The teachers not only learned about the different invaders while in the classroom, but also had the opportunity to fish for them outdoors along the Lake Michigan shoreline. New Zealand mudsnails have been found in Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. IISG issued a press release and wrote an article for Outdoor Illinois to inform the public about this new invader.
Contact: Kristin TePas, 847-872-0141, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Battling new aquatic plant invaders continues to be a priority in Indiana. Just when you think you have one species on the ropes, in comes something new. Lake Manitou hydrilla eradication continues to look promising. We are now through the second consecutive year of whole-lake Sonar treatments. The hydrilla tuber bank has declined approximately 95% as a result of the effective treatments and no new tuber production has likely occurred since newly sprouting hydrilla plants are quickly eliminated by the herbicide. With vegetative hydrilla being so effectively managed, a single public access site was reopened in late June 2008. As long as hydrilla tubers are known to exist in the sediments, brief access closures will take place annually in late spring and early summer during the time when the tubers are expected to begin sprouting and then giving the herbicide enough time to eliminate the young plants. Just when we were feeling confident we could eventually beat hydrilla, parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) was discovered in a small natural lake in northeast Indiana. By the time it was reported, coverage was nearly one-third of the lake. Treatments using selective herbicides (Renovate and 2,4-D) began within weeks of the finding. Herbicide treatments will have to continue through 2009 in an attempt to eliminate this difficult to control plant. Parrotfeather is popular in the watergarden trade and it is suspected that the plant was either discarded from a watergarden or planted directly into the lake. The plant had reportedly been in the lake for a few years, but finally by 2008 the local residents became concerned about its quick spread from shallow wetland flats to deep water.
With so much emphasis currently being place on eradicating new invasive aquatic plants in Indiana and at least two of the three being popular aquarium and watergarden plants (parrotfeather and Brazilian elodea) we continue to place a high priority on assessing the risks of other aquatic plants known to occur in trade. The Aquatic Plants in Trade Working Group is facilitated by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant with other panel involvement which includes TNC, University of Notre Dame, and myself. The working group continues to work on developing a Weed Risk Assessment tool for Indiana.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Michigan Sea Grant at the urging of Indiana DNR co-hosted a HACCP workshop for Indiana state fish hatchery staff with some attendance by by Indiana private aquaculturists. As a result of the training, HACCP plans have been drafted by all DNR fish hatcheries and are currently under DNR review for eventual approval.
Contact: Doug Keller, 317-234-3883, email@example.com.
n 2008, the DNR began providing grants to local groups and governments to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, especially zebra mussels and spiny waterfleas, into Minnesota waters. Grants were provided to help local entities (lake associations, coalitions of lake associations (COLAs), local citizen groups, and local units of government (e.g., conservation districts, lake improvement districts, watershed districts, and counties) implement locally focused prevention efforts and to dove-tail those efforts with other ongoing statewide aquatic invasive species prevention efforts. One example of a statewide prevention effort is the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! campaign, which is being implemented by the DNR, Minnesota Sea Grant, Wildlife Forever, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In total, $50,600 of grants were awarded to 12 grantees during 2008. The grant funded portions of grant proposals were capped at $10,000.
On September 30th, 2008, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued a permit for oceangoing and Great Lakes-only ships discharging ballast water into Lake Superior that includes ballast water treatment and management practices necessary to protect Minnesota's water resources. Information related to permit is available at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/programs/ballastwater.html.
The first Minnesota Invasive Species Conference, hosted by the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council, was held October 26-29, 2008 in Duluth, MN. More the 420 people participated in the conference focused on aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. Visit www.minnesotaswcs.org for more information on the conference.
Contact: Luke Skinner, MN DNR, 651-259-5140, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mary Jean Fenske, MN PCA, 651-297-5472 email@example.com.
See update from Francine MacDonald, under At-large members.
The Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council hired its first full-time coordinator, Ashley Walter, in July 2008. In partnership with EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office, PADEP hosted a Mock Aquatic Invasive Species Response Exercise at Presque Isle State Park on July 29-31. The main purpose of this exercise was to field test the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Rapid Response Communication Protocol. Both table-top and field exercises were conducted. Lessons learned during the exercise will be used to build response capacity in Pennsylvania and in other Great Lakes states. Dreissenid range expansion continues in the Commonwealth. New quagga mussel discoveries were reported from two diving quarries in southeastern Pennsylvania. A single zebra mussel was also collected from Conowingo Dam in Maryland. Conowingo Dam impounds the Susquehanna River upstream into Pennsylvania. The invasive mussels were discovered during routine Pennsylvania Zebra Mussel Monitoring Network sampling. The status of the aforementioned populations remains under investigation. Commonwealth agencies and NGOs have received funding from the Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species for a variety of AIS management projects. The PA Fish and Boat Commission has received funding to produce targeted AIS informational brochures. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has received funding to participate in the iMapInvasives on-line, invasive species mapping program. The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy has received funding for water chestnut eradication. PA Sea Grant, in cooperation with several state agencies, has received funding to develop common AIS prevention signage for boat ramps across the Commonwealth. The signs should be in place for the spring 2009 season. The PA Sea Grant DVD Stemming the Tide: A Guide to Monitoring Zebra & Quagga Mussels in Pennsylvania is now complete and will soon be posted online (http://seagrant.psu.edu/zm/).
Contact: Jim Grazio, PADEP, 814-217-9636, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The interdepartmental exotic invasive species committee of Quebec is working on a watch list and a black list of exotic invasive species and is preparing information fact sheets for some of these species. We are working on a governmental flowchart for rapid response to facilitate information exchange through the province and with the neighboring States and provinces.
The water chestnut eradication program in Richelieu River watershed continued during summer 2008. Quebec is collaborating with Ontario to monitor the propagation of water chestnut in the Ottawa/des Outaouais River. No new Didymo blooms were reported in Gaspésie - Bas-Saint-Laurent Rivers this summer. No VSH case was detected in Quebec during the sampling campaigns of 2007 and 2008. A Web site dedicated to VHS prevention will be up and running at the beginning of 2009. Education and outreach material to stop the spread of AIS are being prepared for anglers for the 2009 fishing season.
There will be a tunicates workshop in Magdalene Islands Dec. 14-15, 2008 and the next International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species (ICAIS 2009) will be held in Montréal April 19-23, 2009.
Contact: Isabelle Simard, 418-521-3907, email@example.com.
Since the last update in June TC and DFO have collaborated on a number of ongoing projects:
Domestic Ballast Water Study. In conjunction with NOAA / NBIC / USCG/ University of Windsor, DFO and TC have continued sampling Lakers to ascertain the role of the domestic fleet - US and Canadian - in ballast water transfers of ANS. The sampling program is now complete as is the analysis of the geographical movement of ballast water. Over 28,250 Laker transits resulted in more than195 million tonnes of ballast discharged over the years of 2005 to 2007. Preliminary results suggest Lakers, defined as domestic vessels travelling between the Lakehead of both Canada and the US and as far into the St Lawrence as Sept Isles, pose a low risk for introduction of new ANS, but they are a potential vector of spread of ANS introduced by other vectors. No VHS was identified in any of the samples taken. Reports are currently being prepared for publication. All participants thank very much the cooperation of the LCA and CSA.
Phase II of the evaluation of the IMO discharge standards as appropriate to the Great Lakes involved a discharge study to evaluate how rapidly propagules would disperse after discharge from a ship. To examine the effects in a relatively "closed" port a dye study was undertaken in Goderich with the help of SMT. Another study will likely take place next year looking at rates of dispersion in a more open area such as Sarnia.
DFO has purchased a Flow Cam and will be testing it in the future to see how it can be best used in the ballast water science program.
Binational studies involving NOAA, the Universities of Michigan and Windsor,USCG, DFO and TC have been conducted over the last year to examine the potential use of NaCl brine to treat ballast water. Preliminary lab studies involving taxa from exchanged ballast water and European ports were completed in 2008. Phase II (shipboard trials) has begun, with two trials undertaken thus far - one each for the NOBOB and BOB conditions.
Transport Canada has recently been asked to Chair the Ballast Water Review Group at IMO. At the last MEPC, the last of 14 Guidelines were completed. The remaining issue of Port State Control is the subject of a intercessional correspondence group. The group advices MEPC that technologies will in fact be available for the first implementation date of the convention. Two more Technologies were given Final Approval and 3 Basic Approval.
Hull Fouling Studies and Biological Sampling of exchanged ballast water continue as part of the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network.
Transport Canada, the USCG, and both Seaway Corporations continue to cooperate in the joint enforcement program in Montreal. There is currently NO UNMANGED BALLAST WATER entering the Great Lakes. DFO continues to monitor the biological efficacy of the program.
Contact: Chris Wiley, Chris.Wiley@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
CORA represents five tribes in Michigan with regard to the tribes' commercial and subsistence fisheries in the 1836 treaty-ceded waters of Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. The tribes which are party to the 1836 Treaty are the Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
CORA's Environmental Coordinator made a presentation at the annual meeting of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society about the effects of aquatic nuisance species on the tribal fisheries of the Great Lakes. CORA is urging other tribes across the U.S. to voice their concerns about impacts by ANS on tribal resources and to urge their Congressional representatives to support tough federal legislation to prevent additional introductions of ANS.
CORA, through the Inter-Tribal Fisheries and Assessment Program (ITFAP), also continued Sea Lamprey suppression activities in conjunction with USFWS, MDNR, Canadian DFO and Ontario MNR including a mark and recapture study that consists of placing portable assessment traps in Nunns and Albany Creeks, and fyke nets into the Carp River and Trout Creek to capture upstream migrating sea lampreys. Sea lampreys are given a fin clip and then released back into the river. All marked sea lampreys subsequently recaptured are killed and length, weight and sex of the marked lamprey are recorded. A different fin clip is used each week of tagging. Ultimately, the mark-recapture data is used to estimate the number of spawning-phase sea lampreys ascending each stream that is trapped.
Another cooperative project with USFWS Sea Lamprey Control that includes the collection of live and dead sea lamprey from CORA commercial fishers. The live parasitic sea lampreys are used for lake-wide mark and recapture in Lake Huron or they are provided to researchers conducting work on sea lampreys.
Contact: Mike Ripley, 906-632-0072, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Conservancy's aquatic invasive species program is focussing its efforts on prevention strategies for each of the four main pathways of introduction into the Great lakes. Highlights of the last 6 months include:
a) Recreational boating
Research led by University of Notre Dame on refining intervention strategies for recreational boaters is winding up; we have focused on developing dissemination strategies and pulling together a special symposium at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference to promote this work and improve integration with existing initiatives.
We secured funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and a private donor to survey inland lakes in Northern Indiana, Illinois and Southern Michigan as part of collaboration with Michigan, Indiana and Illinois DNR and DEQ and the University of Notre Dame. The project will refine a stratified sampling strategy, based on our invasion spread models, to design an early detection (for rapid response) monitoring program that prioritizes lakes most susceptible to invasion. We intend for this work to inform the development of a framework that helps coordinate surveillance efforts between state agencies and community partners, increasing the probability that new invasion events are detected in the early stage of establishment. The project will contribute to hydrilla delimitation surveys being lead by Indiana DNR as part of the Lake Manitou rapid response. This autumn we have been focused on refining sampling methodologies.
b) Live trade
We continue to provide support and input into the aquatic plant risk assessment program being developed in Indiana. To that end, we have secured funds from a private donor that will allow the Conservancy to employ a full time project manager and technician to help the Indiana team populate the risk assessment model. We have also linked up with Dr. Doria Gordon in Florida to test the plant risk assessment model in a warmer climate to determine whether this approach can be used across North America. In the future we hope to use these resources to help refine risk assessment models for other taxa (fish, amphibians) in close collaboration with resource management agencies and stakeholders.
c) Maritime shipping
In collaboration with University of Notre Dame and University of Illinois at Chicago we ran a small workshop with a select group of resource managers and end users to inform and peer- review ballast water research programs funded by GLPF. Research topics covered include (1) international port and vessel risk assessments based on historic vessel movement patterns and environmental matching; (2) web based vessel monitoring system; (3) genetic detection tools.
Contact: John Andersen, email@example.com or Lindsay Chadderton, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the last meeting of the Panel the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC), along with two other of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service's (CSREES) five Regional Aquaculture Centers, have funded projects pertaining to viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). The NCRAC-funded VHS project proposal and information can be found on the Web at http://www.ncrac.org/FundedProjects/vhs1.htm. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has received several million dollars in additional money in their FY2008 budget for activities related to the control of VHS, including surveillance and compliance, education and outreach, and confirmatory testing. And finally, on September 8, 2008 APHIS released its interim rule related to VHS and requested public comment. The notice in the Federal Register as well as the interim rule are available on the Web at http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0038. On October 28, 2008 there was a notification from APHIS that they would be delaying the effective date of the interim rule from November 10, 2008 until January 9, 2009. This notification appeared in the Federal Register (Vol. 73, No. 209/Tuesday, October 28, 2008) and is available as a PDF file at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-25663.pdf. As quoted from the Federal Register notification: "This additional time will allow APHIS to consider all comments and make some adjustments to the interim rule that may be necessary in order to successfully implement it." Batterson has also been involved with the Great Lakes Commission's planning grant funded by the Great Lakes Protection Fund to advance the reduction of AIS risks associated with the organisms in trade (OIT) vector as an advisory committee member.
Contact: Ted Batterson, 517-353-1962, email@example.com.
Several bench-scale tests have been conducted on potential systems at the Superior facility of the Great Ships Initiative (GSI). MARAD has also conducted IMO G8 tests on a ballast water treatment system installed aboard the MARAD vessel Cape Washington in Baltimore and anticipate testing three systems next year. It is hoped that the data collected will help the manufacturers attain IMO Type Approval for their systems.
Next year's work will consist of the GSI group and the Baltimore group collaborating and sharing assets, experience, and talent so that both fresh water and salt water environments are covered.
MARAD has given the GSI group funds for developing a sampling assembly for treating ballast water on ships. It is our desire that this will lead to the development of a system that will be acceptable to both the regulator and the regulated.
MARAD has received funds this year to modify the vessel the Golden Bear on the West Coast to a ballast water technology testing platform. We want to ensure that U.S. technology developers have access to a facility in the U.S. versus having to cue up and pay a considerable amount of money to one of the four non-U.S. facilities.
Contact: Doris Bautch, Doris.Bautch@dot.gov.
The summer and fall seasons were very busy resulting in the implementation of a variety of projects and initiatives. Education initiatives included the distribution of over 600,000 AIS information products through a variety of partnerships with government, academia and community groups. Over 1,100 boat launches were posted with Ontario's new Stop Invasive Species signs. Sixteen summer staff were hired by OFAH working with local partners across the province to engage the public in AIS prevention. Our students conducted presentations at over 100 events, involved volunteers and comunity groups to monitor over 120 lakes and engaged significant media interest with over 40 media interviews in July and August. Our radio campaign was very successful with over 50 stations playing our public service announcements over 3400 times across the province. Our television campaign resulted in key satellite stations includings WILD TV and the Weather Channel agreeing to air our public service announcements nation-wide during their programs.
In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, mandatory HACCP training for bait harvesters was implemented in several new areas of the province. Fourteen HACCP workshops were conducted training over 200 harvesters. Ontario will be initiatiing in December, a community based social marketing project focused on anglers and the use of bait and recreational boating vectors.
The template for a provincial AIS training workshop for field professionals was developed, and a successful pilot workshop was delivered in the fall. The feedback provided from the pilot workshop will be used to modify the workshop manual and training materials, and the field workshops will be launched in the spring of 2009.
The newly formed Ontario Invasive Plant Council, held its second annual general meeting in November and has now defined its operational framework. The OIPC will be integral to coordinating efforts to address invasive plants and in particular woodland invaders in Ontario.
- NOTE: New sighting notification: The non-indigenous plant Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides) was found in the Trent Severn Waterway in Ontario in September 2008. It was confirmed by the Ministry of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Information Centre in October. This is the first report of this plant documented in Canadian waters. It is native to Europe and Britain, however it is used as a water garden plant, and is sold in Ontario for this purpose. A literature search of the biology, ecology, and impacts of the plant is currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Natural Resources' Biodiversity Section.
Contact: Francine MacDonald, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NWF's Great Lakes office has increased discussions over the past six months with partners on potential joint ANS projects, including on education and outreach. This has included discussions at the August 2008 meeting of NWF regional affiliates of potential project ideas (which included ANS projects), and communications with individual affiliate staff about potential projects. We have also had discussions with Great Lakes Commission staff on possible projects and fundraising options, including discussion of the potential to pilot (with a statewide group) an on-the-ground ANS prevention effort with the boating and/or recreational angling community. In other efforts, NWF has begun compiling information on nongovernmental groups and their programs involving ANS education and outreach efforts in the region, has begun development of a regional office ANS Web site, and provided input (including on ANS issues) on the Michigan Great Lakes Plan, being developed by the state (and building on an effort of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, NWF's Michigan affiliate). Separately, NWF has been involved in other ANS policy and legal efforts in recent months, including submitting comment letters to several Great Lakes states on certification decisions (under Clean Water Act Section 401) concerning the draft U.S. EPA ballast water general permit.
Contact: Michael Murray, 734-887-7110, email@example.com.