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The following updates were provided for the December 10-11, 2009 meeting of the Great Lakes Panel in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Federal

U.S. Coast Guard

Proposed Ballast Water Discharge Standard Rulemaking

Issue
The Coast Guard is proposing a two-phase standard for the allowable concentration of living organisms in ships' ballast water discharged in U.S. waters.
 
Background
This rulemaking is being carried out under the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (NANPCA), as reauthorized and amended by the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA). These statutes authorize the Coast Guard to approve alternative ballast water management systems (BWMS) that are found to be at least as effective as mid-ocean ballast water exchange in preventing nonindigenous species introductions.

Proposed Standards and Schedule
Table 1 compares the Coast Guard's proposed phase-one and phase-two standards. The phase-one standard is based upon the International Maritime Organization (IMO) "Regulation D-2" standard of the Ballast Water Management Convention. The phase-two standard is based on the most stringent proposed U.S. state regulations that are based on quantitative limits. Table 2 lists the implementation schedules. If a practicability review finds that no systems can meet the entire phase-two standard, but a significant improvement over phase-one can be practicably achieved, then the Coast Guard will propose intermediate standards and their associated timeline.  (The tables are available as an adobe attachment through the Wiki).

Applicability
• Vessels that operate in U.S. waters and are equipped with ballast tanks, unless they are in innocent passage.
• By statute, the following vessels are exempted from Coast Guard BWM regulations:
     o crude oil tankers engaged in coastwise trade, and
     o vessels of the U.S. Armed Forces as defined in the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1322(a)) subject to the Uniform National Discharge
        Standards for Vessels of the Armed Forces (33 U.S.C. 1322). 16 U.S.C. 4711(c)(2)(J), (L).
• By discretion, the proposed rulemaking would not apply to vessels that operate exclusively in one Captain of the Port Zone, due to the short nature of
   these voyages.

Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS)
Approvals of BWMS would be based on land-based efficacy tests conducted by certified Independent Laboratories in the U.S. with oversight by the Coast Guard and EPA, as well as shipboard testing to verify the systems' operating capabilities. Biocides used in BWMS may require independent registration by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Vessels will also need to meet various water quality criteria established in the EPA Vessel General Permit under the Clean Water Act. A procedure will be developed to evaluate systems which have been type-approved by foreign administrations to ensure they are substantively the same as the U.S. testing procedures.

Future Plans
The Coast Guard will conduct a 90-day comment period, including a series of public meetings.  Following the public comment period, the Coast Guard will prepare responses to comments and prepare the final rulemaking for publication.

More Information
This proposed rulemaking can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov. In Search, enter docket number USCG-2001-10486.

Contact:  CDR Tim Cummins  (216) 902-6049  Timothy.M.Cummins@uscg.mil.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Quagga Mussels and the Lake Michigan Food Web
NOAA has been documenting and examining the effects of the recent expansion of the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) in Lake Michigan.  This species has replaced and subsequently become far more abundant than the zebra mussel in shallow water, and has expanded into deep offshore regions where zebra mussels were never found.  GLERL ecologists found that the spring diatom bloom in 2007-2008 was dramatically reduced compared to previous years.  Diatoms are a highly nutritious phytoplankton group and their spring bloom served as a food source for many organisms in the lower food web.  Filtering (filter-feeding) by quagga mussels was shown to be responsible for the dramatic decrease.  Loss of the spring bloom and other apparently related food-web changes identified through this research will be documented in a series of papers to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Great Lakes Research.  The declines in spring phytoplankton abundance, primary production, and in particular, spring net diatoms, may affect overall food-web dynamics and abundance of key invertebrates, with collapse of the Lake Michigan lower food web a possible outcome, which would have a potentially devastating effect on Lake Michigan fisheries.

GLANSIS
Several improvements have been made to the Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS, http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/Programs/ncrais/glansis.html) over the past six months.  Most notably, we have migrated to a point mapping system.  Point mapping provides much better visualization of the resolution of the geographic data contained in the system and is less subject to misinterpretation.  Profiles for all 181 species included in the system have been completed.  A glossary has been added to increase the accessibility of the information to non-technical audiences.  Search tools have been revised. 

Ballast Water Management
GLERL and the University of Michigan Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) scientists participated in additional full-scale shipboard ballast management  experiments conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Windsor Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER).  The experiments examined the effectiveness of concentrated NaCl to treat low-salinity ballast water.  GLERL/CILER moored recording instrument sondes in experimental and control tanks to evaluate the mixing of added NaCl brine and to monitor salinity and oxygen levels in the tanks.

Contact:  David Reid, 734-741-2019, david.reid@noaa.gov

State/Provincial

Illinois Department of Natural Resources / Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

The most notable recent AIS happening in Illinois involve Asian carp. Sampling by the University of Notre Dame has found DNA of bighead and silver carp upstream of the electrical barrier; verification and rapid response to these findings are being discussed. Meanwhile, the Illinois DNR is functioning as the lead agency for the Asian Carp Workgroup's efforts to apply rotenone in the area of the barrier prior to the shutdown of the barrier for scheduled maintenance. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant's (IISG) outreach efforts regarding carp include 1) participation in the production of a "how to clean" video featuring Duane Chapman, 2) working with presenters at the Chef's Collaborative to have Asian carp discussed as an "underutilized" food fish, and 3) working to include Asian carp on the banquet menu of the Governor's Conference on the Illinois River. IISG also hosted a "Science Saturday" event in conjunction with the Field Museum of Natural History, which featured AIS research on Lake Michigan.

Contact: Pat Charlebois, 847-242-6441, charlebo@illinois.edu.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

After two consecutive years of whole-lake Sonar treatments ('06 and '07) followed by two subsequent years of intensive plant sampling, we have declared Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa) eradicated from 109 acre Griffy Lake near Bloomington. Total cost for the eradication and monitoring was just over $150,000.     

We are through our third consecutive year of whole-lake Sonar treatment for the eradication of hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) at Lake Manitou. The more frequent rains in 2009 than the previous two years have resulted in more herbicide use and created difficulty in maintaining a stable concentration of the active ingredient fluridone. Through this third year of treatment, cumulative costs will likely exceed $1 million. Hydrilla tuber sampling took place in the fall of 2009 and tubers continue to be found in the sediment.  Therefore, treatment will continue into 2010.

Parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) eradication began at a small natural lake in northeast Indiana in the fall of 2008 and has continued through 2009. Using 2,4-D and triclopyr the population has been greatly reduced.  Greatest difficulty lies in finding and treating scattered plants in shallow areas where parrot feather is occasionally found among other emergent plants. Most literature examined suggested that this would be a difficult plant to control. However, with the aggressive action undertaken, it is expected that we will win this battle.

Starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) was first discovered in Indiana in 2008. Another lake was found to contain this macro-algae in the summer of 2009. Michigan has reportedly seen this plant spreading rapidly and creating nuisance conditions but other than that very little information is available on this species. While it is not very clear as to the invasive potential of this plant, we have elected to keep these populations under control while trying to learn more about this species. Copper based products have been the tool of choice.

Special thanks goes out to Lindsay Chadderton with The Nature Conservancy who was able to secure a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to perform early detection surveys. Over 200 lakes 30 acres or larger in the northern 1/3 of Indiana were surveyed by Lindsay's crews using snorkeling. The impetus behind the surveys was to determine if the plants we are aggressively addressing such as hydrilla and parrot feather are found in other bodies of water. Fortunately no new populations were discovered. An additional benefit was to increase the knowledge of overall plant diversity in the natural lakes region of Indiana. In my limited participation with the crews, snorkeling seems like an effective survey technique even in the often times challenging water clarity conditions of Indiana waters.

Contact: Doug Keller, AIS Coordinator; Indiana Department of Natural Resources; 402 W. Washington St, Rm W273; Indianapolis, IN 46204; 317-234-3883; dkeller@dnr.in.gov.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

New large (3x4 ft) Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers signs have been designed for use at high priority water accesses in the state and where there are local sponsors.  A joint effort of MN DNR, Wildlife Forever,  USFWS, USFS, and local organizations resulted in the posting of 21 Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers billboard throughout the state.  The MN DNR continued to provide grant funding to local cooperators for prevention ($100,000) and management ($700,000) of invasive species in Minnesota.  The grants coupled with the DNR's 80 watercraft inspectors and 8 new enforcement officers have increased prevention efforts significantly statewide.  Management grant funding focused on management of Eurasian water milfoil, curly-leaf pondweed and flowering rush.  

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the state's general permit for ballast water discharges in Minnesota waters of Lake Superior.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) permit, issued in September 2008, is designed to prevent ship-mediated spread of invasive species.  The court determined that the state's technical analysis was reasonable and that the permit complies with the state's water quality standards.  The MPCA staff is now preparing comments on the proposed Coast Guard ballast water rule.

The Minnesota Invasive Species management Plan was available for public review in September 2009. The plan was developed by the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council to address both terrestrial and aquatic species.  It was ANSTF in October to seek their approval.

DNR Invasive Species Program Staff continue to work with other in the state on research related to AIS.  D. Peter Sorensen, University of Minnesota, is continuing research on common carp management and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has submitted a grant proposal related to faucet snails.

Zebra mussels have been discovered in 6 new lakes in 2009.  This brings total number of confirmed infested inland lakes to 22, along with a major portion of the Mississippi river and parts of the St. Croix and Rum rivers in Minnesota.  The recent discovery in Pelican Lake in Ottertail County is the first infestation of zebra mussels in the Red River basin.  Eurasian water milfoil was discovered in 13 additional waters in 2009, bringing the total for that species to 232.  In September, spiny waterfleas were discovered in Lake Mille Lacs, a popular lake in central Minnesota, far from other spiny waterflea infestations along the Canadian border.   

Contact: Luke Skinner, Invasive Species Program Supervisor, MN DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 25, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025; 651-259-5140; luke.skinner@state.mn.us

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

  • Rapid response activities for Oak Wilt in Schenectady County resulted in the removal of approximately 75 suburban trees.
  • Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in New York for the first time in 2009.  Intensive surveys, selective ash tree removal, quarantine zones and buffer areas were completed near the Cattaraugus County site.
  • A 2008 effort to eradicate a population of Northern Snakehead Fish in Orange County was followed by a smaller retreatment with rotenone during the fall of 2009.
  • The NY Invasive Species Clearinghouse and NY Invasive Species Research Institute coordinated an Invasive Species In-service in collaboration with the annual Cornell Cooperative Extension program. The event, containing six concurrent tracks, was well-attended and the presentations are being posted on the Clearinghouse website.
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation coordinated a multi-state letter and detailed State comments on the US Coast Guard's proposed ballast water discharge standard; both letters were submitted within the official public comment period. In addition, staff provided testimony at the NYC public meeting.
  • The discovery of Spiny Water Flea in Great Sacandaga Lake, which feeds both the Hudson River and Lake Champlain, resulted in renewed efforts to develop and implement prevention technologies within the NYS Canal system. 

Contact: David Adams, 518-402-9149, djadams@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Ohio Department of Natural Resources 

Ohio's AIS Committee is working on an allocation template for the recently approved GLRI funds.  Ohio will use the recently developed actions that cover five core areas (leadership, prevention, monitoring, control, and research/education) to distribute these funds.  The Committee is also working on filling membership gaps to increase the group's diversity.  The Division of Wildlife is in the process of updating their AIS web site with more comprehensive and current information. 

Contact: John Navarro, ODNR Division of Wildlife, 614-265-6346, john.navarro@dnr.state.oh.us

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Ontario is in the final year of completing mandatory HACCP requirements for all (`1,500) licenced bait harvesters and dealers.  By the 2010 all bait harvesters and dealers will have completed an OMNR approved HACCP plan for their operation.  The completed plan is mandatory for them to receive their annual license.  

Response to the detection of water chestnut (Trapa natans) continues on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River using mechanical harvesting and manual removal to attempt to eradicate an approximately 6-7 acre infestation, the only known occurrence in the wild in Ontario.  

Plans are underway to implement chemical and manual removal of water soldier (Stratiotes aloides) at a site on the Trent River.  The goal is to eradicate the plant since this is the only known occurrence in the wild in North America.  Both plants are common in the watergarden trade. 

In 2008, the Ontario government committed $15 million over 4 years to establish an Invasive Species Centre located in Sault Ste. Marie that will include initiatives for both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. 

Ontario is working with U.S. Sea Grant and Oregon State University on the biological supply house/ live organisms in classrooms project. 

Summer programming went well, with 23 seasonal staff leading outreach initiatives in communities across the province, forming the "Invasive Species Hit Squad", attending community events, conducting boat launch inspections, and visiting provincial parks.   Media interest has been high with over 50 media interviews, radio, television, and print.  A series of 8 radio public service announcements was also launched in August, featuring segments on recreational boating, fishing, hiking, transport of firewood, ATVs, and gardening.  Volunteer inland lake monitoring for zebra mussels and spiny water flea will encompass approximately 120 lakes this summer. 

Ontario is supporting the Canadian response to Asian Carp in the U.S. providing a cash contribution and 2 staff to accompany Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff to assist with fish cleanup.

OMNR facilitated development of an Ontario response to the U.S. ballast water regulation proposal.

Contact: Beth Brownson, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 705-755-1950, beth.brownson@ontario.ca

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Pennsylvania has finalized its Comprehensive Invasive Species Management Plan.  This plan covers both terrestrial and aquatic species and will work in conjunction with the existing Pennsylvania AIS Management Plan.  Dreissenid range expansions continue to occur.  Additional adult zebra mussels and veligers were found in the lower Susquehanna River in the impoundment formed by Conowingo Dam at the PA-MD border.  Quagga mussels were found in another diving quarry (Bainbridge Quarry) near Harrisburg, marking the fourth documented occurrence of dreissenid mussels in quarries to date.  A large fish kill in a southwestern Pennsylvania stream (Dunkard Cr.) has been attributed to toxins produced by the non-native golden alga (Prymnesium parvum).  This alga is often found in brackish waters and may have been transported on drilling rigs from a southern state.  The Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council is working to develop AIS risk assessment procedures based on the guidelines developed by the Mississippi River Basin Panel. The results will influence which species are regulated and how education and outreach efforts for specific species are prioritized.  The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has developed biosecurity protocols for its personnel to prevent the spread of AIS through its activities.    

Pennsylvania Sea Grant hosted a mock rapid response exercise on October 28-29, 2009 in Bellefonte, PA.  Workshop participants applied the draft rapid response plan to a mock scenario of rusty crayfish being discovered in Spring Creek, a high quality trout stream in central PA.  The draft plan will now be revised to address gaps that were identified during the workshop, and a workshop proceedings document will also be developed. The training video Stemming the Tide: A Guide to Monitoring Zebra & Quagga Mussels in Pennsylvania is now available online
(http://seagrant.psu.edu/zm/).

Contact: Jim Grazio, 814-217-9636. jagrazio@state.pa.us

Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks

We are still working on our priority species list for all taxa of invasive species. They are being validated by experts according to NatureServe and Belgium criteria.

Fresh water:

  • Water chestnut: we are continuing our eradication program in Montérégie. There was a lot less plants this year compared to last year. However, 3 new infestation sites were found in Lac des Deux Montagnes in the St. Lawrence River, coming from a new infestation from Ontario. We will monitor these sites and other possible sites in the future.
  • Didymo: Blooms were reported in one new river this summer, for a total of 15 rivers with cells or mats. Water sampling this year will be focused on rivers never sampled before.
  • Early detection network in the St. Lawrence River: the network (fish and invertebrates) is expending this year to cover a larger part of the river by commercial fisherman.
  • Invasive plants networks (2): One new network started this year. A Web site will be online by the end of the year for the public to report observations of invasive plants. The second one is part of the volunteer lake monitoring program and should be running in 2010-2011. 500 lakes are part of the network and we are hoping to reach 700 lakes in 2 years.
  • VHS: still no case detected in Québec's waters.
  • Asian Carp: State of Illinois asked for Québec's support for the Asian Carp control with rotenone in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal. The Government of Quebec has sent a letter of support and money for the project.

Marine water:

  • Risk assessments and work plans were developed for Golden star tunicates, Vase tunicates and Diplosoma for Magdalene Islands.
  • A simulation exercise was conducted in early December for early detection and rapid response for tunicates incursion in Magdalene Islands.
  • Early detection: Tunicate plates (IDM, Gaspésie and CN) as part of the Atlantic monitoring program- since 2006.

A new aquatic invasive species in the province of Québec:

The presence of a new invasive bivalve, the Asiatic clam (Corbicula fluminea), was recently documented in the Bécancour region of the St. Lawrence River, Québec. Alive specimens of that exotic freshwater mollusc, varying in size between a few millimetres and up to 25 mm, have been collected in thermal discharge plume of the nuclear power plant Gentilly-2. The sampling was realised by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) and the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) on 12 and 13 November 2009, while the identity of the bivalve was later confirmed by a malacologist of the Canadian museum of Nature (CMN). The Asiatic clam is an introduced species considered invasive in the major part of the United States (34 states) and throughout most of Europe. This species can cause numerous damages, such as clogging industrial water systems, affecting nutrients and trophic dynamics, and competing with indigenous bivalves for food. To our knowledge, this is the first mention of the Asiatic clam in Québec watersheds, but its presence has previously been reported in the Great Lakes Basin, Vancouver Island, and more recently in the Lake Champlain canal, New-York. In the Northern distribution of its range, this species has often been associated to the thermal water release of power plants. The survival of the Asiatic clam being limited by water temperature below 2 °C, thermal water discharges could maintain refuge populations by minimizing the effect of this limiting factor. Such phenomenon is likely to also occur in the province of Québec. The analysis of collected sediments will allow to determine the spatial distribution of Asiatic clams upstream and downstream the thermal discharge plume of the nuclear power plant Gentilly-2, in function of site characteristics.

The MRNF currently aims at putting forward, along with several partners, a research project to study the influence of physico-chemical factors on the population dynamic of the Asiatic clam, as well as the impact of its interaction with other aquatics species. Such a project could allow a better evaluation of the risks associated with the presence of the species in the Gentilly-2 area and, then determine the possibility of its implantation elsewhere in the St. Lawrence river and evaluate the consequence it may have on biodiversity. This issue is even more worrying as climate change could eventually favour the dispersion and establishment of the Asiatic clam in Québec watersheds. This proposed project is in line with An invasive alien species strategy for Canada supported in 2004 by the forest, wildlife, species at risk, fisheries and aquaculture ministers, which underlines the importance of elaborating research projects to evaluate the risk of invasive alien species as well as promoting a rapid intervention following the detection of a new species.

Contact: Isabelle Simard, 418-521-3907 # 4417, isabelle.simard@mddep.gouv.qc.ca.

Regional/Binational

Great Lakes Commission

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) has played a significant role in advocating for federal funding in support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).  At the end of October, Congress approved $475 million to fund the GLRI, $60 million of which is to be spent on invasive species problems. The Commission is currently in the process of developing regionally- based projects that could be funded under the GLRI.

The GLC has also been promoting rapid response efforts in the prevention of Asian carp from migrating into Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes, through the Illinois River system. Specifically, the Commission has gone on record on behalf of its member states and provinces supporting 1) use of rotenone in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to stop passage of the carp past the barrier when shut-down for maintenance in December; and 2) emergency action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite other prevention efforts including completion of the electric dispersal barrier system and a study of options to permanently separate the two basins.

GLC comments on the U.S. Coast Guard proposed rules on a ballast water discharge standard are being prepared for submission. Advocacy efforts are being maintained by GLC staff on the passage of pre-import screening legislation to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS through the organisms in trade vector. Preparations are underway for Great Lakes Day in Washington, DC, for 2010, providing an opportunity for the Commission to advocate for funding to implement state ANS management plans and for operation of the Great Lakes Panel at a greater level.

Contact: Kathe Glassner-Shwayder, 734-971-9135, shwayder@glc.org.

Canadian Federal

Transport Canada / Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Ballast Water Activities:
Transport Canada (TC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) continue to collaborate on a number of ongoing AIS projects in relation to Ballast Water: 

Evaluation of Lakers as vector of AIS introduction and spread in the Great Lakes: Our analysis of Laker transit and ballast water discharge patterns has been accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences with an expected release date of January 2010. A second publication based on biological sampling of domestic ballast water is being prepared. A complementary project examining transit patterns of coastal and foreign vessels arriving to the Great Lakes is nearing completion. Both transit studies are the result of collaboration with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Evaluation of the Current Ballast Water Management Regulations: In collaboration with the Universities of Windsor and McGill, we have examined four lines of evidence to determine if ballast water exchange and flushing are effective tools to reduce the risk of ballast-mediated AIS introductions in the Great Lakes. First, we extended previous analyses of rates of discovery of AIS to determine if declines are evident in recent years. We examined the theoretical efficacy of BWE by modeling expected loss ratios based on empirical data. We then examined vessel compliance statistics and, finally, compared biotic composition of ballast water measured post-regulation with data collected pre-regulation to assess the current biological risk. The results of the analysis are currently undergoing peer review, and are expected to be published in 2010. 

Automated Analysis of Ballast Water Samples: DFO and TC have purchased a flow cytometry and microscope system (FlowCAM) and high resolution Laser Optical Plankton Counter (HRLOPC) for use in ballast water research and monitoring activities. Methodology is now being developed in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Lab (Key West, FL) to incorporate these tools into the Canadian ballast water science and monitoring program. 

Evaluation of sodium chloride (NaCl) brine as an emergency treatment for non-compliant ballast water: In collaboration with NOAA and the Universities of Windsor and Michigan, we have completed 6 shipboard trials to evaluate the efficacy of NaCl brine as an active substance for treatment of ballast water. Experiments have been conducted to treat tanks containing substantial (130 m3) and residual (<10 m3) amounts of ballast. Preliminary results indicate that brine is an effective toxic agent, but that care will be needed to ensure adequate mixing within tanks. Results are expected to be published in 2010. 

Transport Canada has now been the Chair the Ballast Water Working / Review Group at IMO for the last two sessions. All Guidelines for Uniform Implementation of the BW Convention are now complete and technologies will be available for the first implementation date of the convention. By July, nine technologies will have been given Final Approval and GESAMP has two meetings scheduled in September and October to look at 8 more. Of concern is the slow rate of ratification of the Convention, and the fact that only 2 of the current group of technologies have been tested in fresh water (and none in cold water). Canada intends to ratify the BW Convention. 

Transport Canada, the USCG, and both Seaway Corporations continue to cooperate in the joint enforcement program in Montreal. There is currently NO UNMANAGED FOREIGN BALLAST WATER discharged into the Great Lakes. DFO continues to monitor the biological efficacy of the program, and has established a partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to sample ballast water discharges in Duluth/Superior. 

Non-Ballast Water AIS Activities: 

DFO has taken the lead in responding to the request for assistance from the United States during their control activities for Asian carps in the vicinity of the electrical barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (December 2-6, 2009).  With support from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, DFO will be sending two crews and all associated equipment, to help in the effort; one for chemical application, the other for fish removal.  Through their relationship with the Great Lakes Commission, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), has also been contacted to provide assistance, and are helping DFO with logistics.  This Canadian effort is being coordinated by Becky Cudmore (DFO, CEARA). 

DFO, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, is conducting research and monitoring activities in the nearshore of Lake Ontario to better understand the distribution, abundance, and impacts of the bloody red shrimp (Hemimysis anomala) a recent invader of the Great Lakes. This AIS has had significant impacts in invaded ecosystems in Europe, however, these are very different ecosystems from the Great Lakes. Current research is aimed at determining if ecological processes in the Great Lakes will moderate previously observed impacts. A forthcoming publication in Hydrobiologia presents what is known about the current North American distribution along with preliminary research on the feeding ecology of Hemimysis. Further research is on-going. 

Centre of Expertise for Aquatic Risk Assessment (CEARA) - DFO's CEARA has completed their national guidelines for conducting biological risk assessment and they are currently undergoing formatting and approval prior to release.  It should be publically available shortly.  We continue with several pathway risk assessments: aquarium, water garden, baitfish, live food, ballast water and recreational boating.  We are also participating in a larger project (led by Oregon Sea Grant) to gather data on the biological supply house as a potential pathway for AIS; the Great Lakes is one of the focus areas of that project.  Work is underway for two species specific risk assessments: Asian Swamp Eel and the New Zealand Mud Snail.  It is anticipated that drafts will be available by March 2010. 

Contacts:          Chris Wiley, Chris.Wiley@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
                         Sarah Bailey, Sarah.Bailey@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Tribal Authorities

Private Groups (Environmental, Commercial, User)

University/Research

Sea Grant Advisory Services / Extension

Zebra Mussel Infestations - Received reports of a few additional infested Michigan lakes, including one in the eastern Upper Peninsula, and submitted all reports to GLANSIS.

Clean Boats, Clean Waters - Participants from the Watersmeet Clean Boats, Clean Waters team (they call themselves Lake Guards) reported contacting almost 4,350 boaters from states as far away as Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas and Colorado, as well as from Great Lakes states.  They got very positive response to their boat washing station in the western Upper Peninsula (MI).

Helga the Hydrilla - Helga II has joined the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant AIS touring company, educating participants at public events about the dangers posed by this invasive aquatic plant.  Meanwhile, Helga I educated young people participating in the 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp about their role in preventing the introduction of the problematic plant.

Contact: Carol Swinehart

At-Large

North Central Regional Aquaculture Center

The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) is funding a number of activities, projects, or products pertaining to fish diseases, particularly viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), and biosecurity. This includes a stand-alone VHS project that began September 1, 2008, information for which can be found on the Web at http://www.ncrac.org/FundedProjects/vhs1.htm. Over 40 veterinarians whose tuition was paid for by NCRAC took the on-line portion of a Fish Health Medicine Program offered by the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine during summer 2009. The Center was willing to pay that tuition cost in an effort to increase the number of qualified aquatic animal specialists who would be available to the aquaculture industry in the 12-state North Central Region (which includes 6 Great Lakes states).

Contact: Ted Batterson, 517-353-1962, batters2@msu.edu.

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Invasive Species Hit Squad

The summer was extremely successful for the O.F.A.H. Invasive Species Hit Squad.  Our team of 20 summer staff working in partnership with MNR district offices, stewardship councils, conservation authorities and non-governmental organizations hit the ground running, attending over 150 community events,  boat launch surveys, conducting presentations, monitoring invasive species populations, and interpretive programs in provincial parks.  The students were also very successful attracting media interest in the invasive species issue, resulting in over x media interviews in radio, television and newspaper. Partners in this initiative included; Lake of the Woods District Property Owner's Association, South Kenora Rainy River Stewardship Council, Thunder Bay Stewardship Council, Sault Ste. Marie MNR, Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council, Pembroke MNR, Kids for Turtles Environmental Education, Prince Edward Stewardship Council, Lower Trent Conservation, University of Windsor, Ontario Streams, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Mississippi Valley Conservation, Plenty Canada, South Nation Conservation and Voyageurs Provincial Park.

Pilot Outreach Initiative in Ontario Provincial Parks

Our pilot project with Ontario Parks, allowing our Invading Species summer staff to visit provincial parks and conduct interpretive programming and camper and boat launch surveys was very successful.  Staff visited thirty-four provincial parks, and we have received indications from Ontario Parks that the program could be expanded in 2010, with specific training provided to provincial park staff.

Media Communications

A media release on the first discovery of the plant kudzu in Canada was issued with the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, in early September attracting over 15 media articles including the Associated Press, Globe and Mail, and CBC radio.

A joint media release with Georgian Bay Forever, and Great Lakes United was also issued profiling concerns related to the efficacy of the electric barrier in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal and the imminent approach of Asian carp within one mile of the barrier.  Other media interest in the program focused the Water Soldier control project featuring articles in Community Press, the EMC newspaper and the Kingston Whig Standard.

Public Service Announcements

Starting in August, a series of eight radio public service announcements produced in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council were distributed to radio stations.  In August and September the announcements were aired over 1100 times by at least 36 stations.  The public service announcements focus on a variety of recreational pathways including, boating, angling, gardening, firewood, ATVs and hunting. 

Our television public service announcements continue to be aired regularly on the Angler and Hunter.   WILD TV also continues to play the psas in their regular rotation across Canada.

Presentations and Community Events

O.F.A.H. staff conducted numerous presentations and attended more than 50 events between August 16 and November 11, 2009 with our various educational displays.

New Education Initiatives

The Landowners Guide to Controlling Invasive Woodland plants

A landowners' guide to controlling invasive woodland plants was produced in partnership with program staff, and the Victoria Land and Water Stewardship Council.  The guide outlines the ecology and control methods of Ontario's most common terrestrial invasive plants including: dog-strangling vine, garlic mustard, Norway maple, buckthorn, giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed and exotic bush honeysuckles. Members of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council provided technical assistance and review.

Highway Billboards

Work continues on our project to install highway billboards across the province to raise awareness of invasive species and increase community involvement in prevention measures. Billboards will be installed in the following locations through November to January:

  1. Fort Frances on Hwy 17, in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and the Fort Frances Sportsmen Club, and the South Kenora Rainy River Stewardship Council.
  2. Lake Simcoe/Georgina on Hwy 45 in partnership with the York Stewardship Council, Aurora District MNR and the Town of Georgina.
  3. Nipigon, seven billboards and highway signs will be posted throughout the district in partnership with Nipigon District MNR and the FMZ Council Six.

Billboard sites are also in various stages of progress in Kenora, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay with O.F.A.H. clubs, M.NR. District offices  and stewardship councils.

Stop Invasive Species! Bumper Stickers (Aquatic and Terrestrial)

Bumper stickers for anglers (283,472) and hunters (61,919) were distributed in the 2010 Outdoor Card renewal license in October.

Ontario's Most Unwanted Invasive Plant Factsheets

In partnership with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, a series of factsheets focused on Ontario's most serious invasive plants have been produced. The factsheets are on kudzu, dog-strangling vine, garlic mustard and European buckthorn.

Invasive Species Monitoring 

Invading Species Hotline

Between August 16, 2009 and November 11, 2009 the Invading Species Hotline received over 567 requests resulting in the distribution of 304,325 educational materials. The Hotline received 290 sighting reports for a variety of invasive species.  Of these 92 were able to be confirmed.  New sighting occurrences included: 
 

Species
Date
Waterbody
County
Township
Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus)
08-Jul-09
Kecil Lake
Sudbury District
Victoria










Species
Date
Waterbody
County
Township
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
10-Sep-09
Etobicoke Creek
Toronto Division
Toronto
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
26-Aug-09
Gloucester Passage
Muskoka District Municipality
Matchedash
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
13-Aug-09
Little Lake
Simcoe County
Baxter
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
22-Aug-09
Otonabee River
Peterborough County
Otonabee
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
22-Aug-09
Rice Lake
Cochrane District
Dundonald
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
06-Aug-09
South Bay
Manitoulin District
Assiginack
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
15-Sep-09
Wilmot Creek
Durham Regional Municipality
Clarke





Species
Date
Waterbody
County
Township
Rusty Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)
20-Aug-09
Barlow Creek
Hamilton Division
Beverly
Rusty Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)
03-Oct-09
Eagle Lake
Kenora District
null





Species
Date
Waterbody
County
Township
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
24-Aug-09
Carthew Bay
Simcoe County
Orillia
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
07-Sep-09
Catfish Creek
Algoma District
Bailloquet
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
16-Sep-09
Chippewa Creek
Nipissing District
Widdifield

Invading Species Watch Program

The Invading Species Watch program continues to engage volunteers across the province to monitor their lakes.  With the assistance of our summer staff and volunteers working around the province, over 125 lakes were monitored. The samples collected for the program are currently being analysed.

Invasive Species Tracking System

Work in partnership with the M.N.R. and the University of Waterloo's Community Mapping Program continues on the development of the Invasive Tracking System, an on-line tracking tool for the public and resource professionals to report and obtain information on invasive species distribution.  Two technical committee meetings were held with project collaborators from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Aurora District M.N.R., Conservation Ontario and Kids for Turtles Environmental Education.   The funding for this project is being provided by the Environment Canada's Lake Simcoe Clean Up Fund.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Workshops (HACCP) for the Bait Industry

Between August and early November, program staff worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources to deliver 15 Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Workshops for the bait industry throughout northern Ontario.  The locations included; Kenora, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Atikokan, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, Opasitika, Gogama and Cochrane. Over this time period over 300 harvesters were trained and assisted to develop invasive species prevention plans within their operations.

Invasive Species Control

Water Soldier Control

In September, following extensive public consultation, Peterborough District M.N.R. led an eradication effort of the invasive plant Water Soldier on the Trent River.  The effort focused on the use of an aquatic herbicide (REWARD), which was applied by a registered applicator on the most heavily infested locations.  Small outlier populations were removed manually using rakes. The effects of the herbicide on the plants were noticeable quickly, enabling a second treatment several weeks later to address several areas that were missed by the applicator. The O.F.A.H. played a significant role in the initiative by conducting outreach within the community regarding the plant, organizing monitoring events, and assisting with public consultation efforts. Lower Trent Conservation, Trent Severn Waterway, and the Ministry of Environment also played important roles in the project. Monitoring and surveillance will have to continue in the spring and summer of 2010 to assess the need and scope for additional control efforts.

Ontario Invasive Plant Council (O.I.P.C.)

Program staff assisted with the delivery of the 3rd Invasive Plant Symposium and Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council.  The event was extremely successful with over 130 attendees from all levels of government, numerous environmental non-governmental organizations, and industry representatives.  The meeting included a plenary session along with 3 concurrent sessions on invasive plant outreach, research and policy initiatives.

Contact: Francine MacDonald, Invasive Species Program Manager/ Aquatics Biologist, 705-748-6324 ext 238, francinem@ofah.org

National Wildlife Federation

Policy Advocacy

NWF worked with several other NGOs in drafting and submitting comments on the U.S. Coast Guard Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters, including a general detailed comment letter on the rulemaking, two NGO sign-on letters (addressing the rulemaking and the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS)), and additional organizational letters addressing specific aspects of the rulemaking and DPEIS. In addition, NWF has been in communication with other stakeholders concerning strategies in response to recent developments involving Asian carp in Chicago area waterways.

Restoration and Protection Planning

Michael Murray has helped lead an expert opinion process involving Great Lakes researchers to assess geographic area priorities for restoration and protection work (including addressing AIS problems and threats broadly) for the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition.

Education

NWF has worked with three students from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in a project to assess NGO involvement in AIS education and outreach work in the region*.*

Litigation

NWF also remains involved in litigation on several AIS issues, including (with other partners) on the U.S. EPA Vessel General Permit (VGP), and Michigan's 401 certification of the U.S. EPA VGP.

Contact: Michael Murray, 7334-887-7110, murray@nwf.org

University of Minnesota Sea Grant College Program

EXTENSION:

State Plan - A Minnesota State Plan for Invasive Species was released for public comment in September and forwarded to the ANSTF for approval at their fall meeting. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/natural_resources/invasives/state_invasive_species_plan.pdf

HabitattitudeTMwas promoted by Minnesota Sea Grant to consumers and potential campaign partners. In September, a guest presentation was given during a volunteer training meeting at the Lake Superior Zoo (Duluth). A facility walk-through was conducted to determine where and how the campaign's prevention messages could be integrated with new, live animal and educational displays in 2010.

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!TM reached an estimated 11,000 people at eight events across Minnesota from June-September. Highlights are summarized below:

On July 11, kids were the winners at Mills Fleet Farm stores. For the first time, festivities featured Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!TM in addition to other activities that excited kids about fishing. As kids passed through stations, they learned fun things about fishing and AIS. Representatives from dozens of campaign partners including Minnesota Sea Grant and state DNRs co-hosted booths at stores across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. In MN, Wildlife Forever, Pelican Lake Association of St. Anna, Pequot Lakes Property Owners Association, Douglas County Lake Association, Sauk River Watershed District, and others, were on-hand to answer questions about AIS. Look for Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! next July at Mills Fleet Farm Kid's Fishing Day.

On July 16-19, a campaign booth was featured at a celebration of Lake Superior Days in Canal Park (Duluth), which reached over 1,300 visitors. Representatives from six Duluth-area campaign partners were on-hand to answer questions. Visitors really liked the jars of "pickled" specimens used for show-and-tell. The campaign will again be featured at Lake Superior Daysin 2010.

On August 1, the U.S. Forest Service hosted a booth at the 11th Annual State Fish Art Expo at Mall of America in Bloomington, where thousands of outreach materials were distributed. The Expo is sponsored annually by Wildlife Forever.

In September, the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! booth reached 120 environmentalists, conservationists, and others at the Healing Our Waters Coalition Conference (Duluth).

Responding to Ballast Water Issues,* the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and the IJC co-hosted a ballast water forum in Detroit in September. Facilitated by MN Sea Grant and GLC staff, this was the first meeting of representatives of nearly every Great Lake's state and provincial government regulators (MN, WI, IL, OH, MI, NY, ONT), federal U.S. and Canadian regulators (U.S Coast Guard, U.S. EPA, U.S. Dept. of Interior-National Park Service, NOAA, USGS, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada), and senior executives from U.S. and Canadian-flag lakers, and international fleets from the U.S. and Canada. Goals were to share relevant information among participants, increase dialogue among key stakeholders involved, and discuss ways to further reducing the risk of introduction and spread of AIS through ballast water. As follow-ups, Great Lake's state regulatory programs will meet, a second forum is planned, and a collaborative public/private proposal will be submitted by state regulatory agencies to address ballast water treatment issues.

Minnesota Sea Grant published an article in Great Lakes Seaway Review (July-Sept 09, p. 27) summarizing findings of a special session on VHS held during the 16thInt'l Conference on AIS in Montreal. Sea Grant communications co-led production of Lake Superior Ballast Water Research, Superior Science News radio show mp3 file (7:16). Minnesota Sea Grant supported efforts in Duluth to celebrate World Maritime Day, sponsored by the IMO. The U.S. hosted this year's events; hundreds participated in events, and thousands were reached through media coverage.

YOUTH EDUCATION:

Minnesota Sea Grant supported five events reaching nearly 6,200 youths about how to prevent the spread of AIS. Staff responded to student requests and helped mentor them on AIS projects. Three are highlighted: 

1.     A 4-H student won a grand champion at the Blue Earth County Fair for his project on Eurasian watermilfoil.

2.     A Girl Scout won the Gold Award for her project to teach youth about AIS. Using Sea Grant's Exotic Aquatics Traveling Trunk and other materials, she hosted five events that taught 463 youths about AIS in the Chaska area. Surveys showed that student awareness increased from 63% to 97%.

3.     Two youths from Cloquet High School conducted monitoring for zebra mussels in Pike Lake for a science fair project last fall.

COMMUNICATION:

In 2009, Minnesota Sea Grant's association with mass media generated 49 story placements with a potential audience of 2.2 million and an advertising equivalent of $68,736. Interviews (26) appeared on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. Stories were posted online on the Sea Grant Web site, and distributed via Twitter and RSS feeds. By keeping AIS in the mass media, we contribute to a more aware and knowledgeable society. Sea Grant produced two radio shows in collaboration with KUMD Radio at UMD called Sea Grant Files (2008/2009) and Catching Up With Aquatic Sciences (2009/2010). Both were so well received by the public that the radio station has packaged them for partnering stations to air across the Great Lakes region. Four programs broadcast were related to AIS. Programs can be downloaded from the Internet, by Podcasts, and ITunes subscribers.

RESEARCH:

Responding to citizen concerns of algal growth on rocky shoreline along Lake Superior's North Shore, Sea Grant partnered with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Duluth to investigate. Results revealed didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) at fourteen locations from Grand Portage to Duluth in fall 2008. Didymo is an algal diatom that attaches to hard substrates that can form mats that look slimy, hence the name "rock snot." Where it is not native, it can cover the bottoms of streams and rivers impacting habitat and water quality. Through consultation with diatom experts and a literature search, it was found that didymo has been a resident of Lake Superior's North Shore for at least 40 years. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that it poses a risk to Lake Superior; however, it may pose threats to inland waters if spread. A proposal by the U.S. Geological Survey was submitted in part to conduct genetics work on specimens collected from North Shore aimed at determining if the Lake Superior variety is native or non-native invasive.

Sea Grant confirmed an infestation of zebra mussels in Pike Lake near Duluth at the request of the DNR in July. Staff responded to media interviews, information was posted on the Sea Grant Web site, as well as distributed via RSS feeds and Twitter. Sea Grant produced a special flier for triathlon participants urging them to take action to prevent the spread of zebra mussels via their gear. The Fond du Lac Natural Resources Program was notified of the potential infestation of White Pine Creek, which flows from Pike Lake into the St. Louis River near the eastern reservation boundary.

Several Sea Grant-sponsored research efforts are aimed at helping gain a better understanding for control and impacts of AIS:

1.     Sea Grant-sponsored researchers are examining the cost effective synthesis of a pheromone component for sea lamprey control. Researchers developed ways to synthesize structural analogs of petromyzonamine disulfate (PADS), the principle component of the sea lamprey migratory pheromone. Analogs synthesized to-date have been or are in the process of being tested to determine if they elicit an olfactory response in adult lamprey. The synthetic pheromone could be used to help control sea lamprey, one of the most damaging AIS in the Great Lakes.

2.     Sea Grant-sponsored research suggests no measureable effect of invasive zooplankton, spiny waterflea (Bythotrephes longimanus), on diet or mercury levelsof yellow perch health in Island Lake Reservoir near Duluth.

3.     Contrary to previous claims, Sea Grant-sponsored research showed that round gobies (Apollina melanostomus) do not possess superior sensory advantages. In feeding trials with three bottom-dwelling native fish species, round gobies gained more weight than all fishes. Even though the native fishes possess better feeding efficiency, slimy sculpins only maintained weight, and spoonhead sculpin and logperch lost significant weight. Competitive advantages for round goby to outcompete native bottom-dwelling fishes point to their aggressive behavior.

4.     Sea Grant will lead a Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Fish Symposium to discuss the potential for managing invasive aquatic animals through genetic technologies and methods, June 21-24, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (see www.seagrant.umn.edu/ais/biocontrol.

Contact: Doug Jensen, Minnesota Sea Grant, 218.726.8712, djensen1@umn.edu; or Dale Bergeron*, 218.726-7672, dbergero@umn.edu. NOTE NEW ADDRESS: University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program, 144 Chester Park, 31 W. College Street, Duluth, MN 55812-1998

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