The following updates were provided for the June 25-26, 2009 meeting of the Great Lakes Panel in Grand Island, NY.
The Department of Homeland Security, through the U.S. Coast Guard, is authorized by Congress to develop a national regulatory program to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nonindigenous species (NIS) into U.S. waters via ballast water discharges from vessels. By direction of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (NANPCA) and the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA), the Coast Guard has promulgated several regulations and continues to develop future regulations to address this issue.
The current ballast water management requirements in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway system are among the most stringent in the world. Mandatory ballast water regulations that include saltwater flushing, detailed documentation requirements, increased inspections, and civil penalties provide a comprehensive regulatory enforcement regime to protect the Great Lakes. U.S. and Canadian regulations now require all ships destined for Seaway and Great Lakes ports from beyond the exclusive economic zone to exchange all their ballast tanks at sea or flush their residuals. The 2008 Summary of Great Lakes Ballast Water Working Group (available on the web at www.piersystem.com/go/doc/443/261306/ ) documents the current state of ballast water enforcement on the Great Lakes and includes a marked improvement over the prior year's inspection program statistics. This is one of a very few instances where there is an enforcement protocol in place that can result in complete compliance with a stated set of objectives or regulations. As a result, the risk of a ballast water mediated introduction of aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes has been mitigated to extremely low levels.
In addition to the current regulations and policies, the Coast Guard is engaged in a rulemaking that would set a performance standard for the quality of ballast water discharged in U.S. waters. This rulemaking is being carried out under NANPCA and NISA, which 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 (BWE) in preventing NIS introductions.
As the effectiveness of ballast water exchange varies from vessel to vessel, the Coast Guard believes that setting a performance standard would be the most effective way for approving BWMS that are environmentally protective and scientifically sound. Ultimately, the approval of BWMS would require procedures similar to those in CFR, Title 46, Subchapter Q, to ensure that the BWMS works not only in the laboratory but under shipboard conditions. These would include: pre-approval requirements, application requirements, land-based/shipboard testing requirements, design and construction requirements, electrical requirements, engineering requirements, and piping requirements. As a necessary first step in approving BWMS, the Coast Guard has proposed defining a ballast water discharge (BWD) standard that would enable us to assess a BWMS's ability to be environmentally protective. We did this via an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), published March 4, 2002, in which we began our rulemaking process by asking for comments to help define a ballast water treatment goal and standard. The rulemaking is entitled "Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters," and documents and public comments relating to the rulemaking can be found at http://dms.dot.gov under docket number USCG-2001-10486.
Since September 2003, we have been conducting essential environmental impact analyses to support this rulemaking, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and various other environmental statutes. We have held public workshops across the nation to engage interested stakeholders in discussing the environmental impacts the Coast Guard must consider. The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are assisting us as cooperating agencies. In addition to considering a "no action" alternative that would avoid using a BWD standard to evaluate BWMS, the environmental analysis will also assess the impact of establishing a stringent "virtual sterilization" standard that would require the elimination of all living organisms larger than 0.1 micron. Also, we are considering adoption of some less stringent standard that would establish maximum acceptable discharge concentrations for various types of potential NIS. An example of this type of standard we are evaluating is set forth in the International Maritime Organization's "Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments" which was adopted in 2004. The results of these analyses will be published in a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS), which the Coast Guard is developing in conjunction with the NPRM.
The ballast water rulemaking is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Assuming there aren't any major issues with the rule, according to their guidelines OMB must clear on significant rulemakings within 90 days of the May 15, 2009 submission.
Not only must the Coast Guard conduct environmental analyses for implementing a BWD standard, we must also conduct economic analyses. Under Executive Order 12866, any federal agency engaged in a significant rulemaking action must conduct an assessment of potential costs and benefits, including an explanation of how the rulemaking is consistent with the statutory mandate and Presidential policies. This assessment is called a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA). The RIA, along with a Federalism analysis, generally would also explain how the rulemaking avoids undue interference with the functions of state, local, and tribal governments.
Additional information on Coast Guard involvement with ballast water enforcement/regulation can be found at: http://www.d9publicaffairs.com/go/doctype/443/31154/
Contact: CDR Tim Cummins (216) 902-6049 Timothy.M.Cummins@uscg.mil.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to operate the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Dispersal Barrier System. The demonstration barrier remains in continuous operation at a maximum in-water field strength of 1 Volt/inch. The second barrier, Barrier II, is being constructed in two phases, IIA and IIB. Barrier IIA was activated in April 2009 and is now also in continuous operation at a maximum in-water field strength of 1 Volt/inch. Barrier IIB is under design. An independent study has indicated that higher field strengths than currently used may be necessary to repel small fish. USACE has initiated research to determine the optimal operating settings to repel all sizes of fish. This research will be completed by Fall 2009. During Summer 2009 USACE will also complete safety testing at higher operating voltages. Upon completion of the optimal settings research and higher voltage safety testing, USACE will complete the design of Barrier IIB and decide whether to adjust the operating voltage of Barrier IIA. USACE is also working with others to develop an improved plan for monitoring the location of Asian carps relative to the barriers. Additional monitoring efforts and techniques will be implemented in Summer 2009.
As part of the ongoing Barrier System project, USACE is also completing an investigation of hazards that might compromise the effectiveness of the barriers, including potential bypassing of the barriers through neighboring waterways during flood events. A study report, including recommended mitigation measures, will be completed in 2010.
WRDA 2007 authorized USACE to complete a comprehensive investigation of other approaches, beyond the existing barrier system, to prevent the inter-basin transfer of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. This is a separate project from the barrier system and can look at all potential connections between the basins (not just the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal). The first appropriations for this study were received in Spring 2009 and USACE has begun to develop a study plan and structure. Outreach to stakeholders for participation in study committees and support teams is expected to begin later this year.
USACE is also continuing it's partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in the construction of barriers and traps to disrupt sea lamprey spawning. Two barriers in the Lake Michigan watershed are being worked on currently. A construction contract for a barrier on Trail Creek in northern Indiana is expected to be awarded in late 2009, and planning is continuing for a barrier on the Manistique River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Contact: Jim Galloway, 313-226-6760, Jim.E.Galloway@usace.army.mil
Scientists at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL) are examining the effects of the dreissenid expansion to greater depths in Lake Michigan. Quagga mussels have replaced zebra mussels in shallow water and have also expanded to all depth zones of the lake. Unlike zebra mussels quagga mussels are able to colonize soft as well as hard substrates and this gives them access to all areas of the lake bottom. Recently completed experiments revealed quagga mussels maintain a relatively high filtration rate even at the cold temperatures found during the isothermal periods (December -May) and during summer in the hypolimnion of Lake Michigan.
GLERL and the University of Michigan Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) scientists participated in several ship-board full-scale ballast tank experiments conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Windsor (GLIER) to examine 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. DFO and University of Windsor scientists sampled plankton throughout the coarse of the experiments. Two instrumented experiments have been carried out to date.
NOAA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada co-hosted the 16th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species in Montreal, Canada during April 2009. There were 344 registered participants representing 25 countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand, The Netherlands, UK, USA, and Wales). 141 participants were from Canada and 127 were from USA. The complete Program and Abstracts book is available on the ICAIS web site: http://www.icais.org/
Over 180 species are presently listed on the Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS) maintained by NOAA. Since the last Panel meeting, changes in the aquatic criterion recommended by the GLANSIS expert panel resulted in removal of the following species from the list: Lotus corniculatus, Sonchus arvensis, Sonchus arvensis var. glabrescens, Carex flacca, Epilobium parviflorum, Polygonum caespitosum var. longisetum. These species were identified as upland, facultative upland and/or terrestrial plants. We hope to add to the following new features to the database during CY2009: point mapping, filter-sort capacity, additional pathway searches, and table export to Excel.
Contact: David Reid, 734-741-2019, email@example.com
NPS received an EPA waiver determination regarding the need for an Experimental Use Permit under FIFRA, covering the use of sodium hypochlorite as a ballast water treatment in the M.V. Ranger III which serves Isle Royale National Park. This determination ensures that the Ranger III is in compliance with the EPA vessel general permit. NPS continues to explore longer-term ballast treatment options targeting all AIS on the Ranger III and is in communication with US Coast Guard STEP program staff and the Volpe Center. As part of an interagency subcommittee of the National Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, NPS and others are developing tools for emergency ballast water treatment, preparing a related risk analysis, and reviewing a draft NPS guidebook on the topic. In March 2009, NPS and cooperators from The Glosten Associates, the American Steamship Company, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth Large Lakes Observatory conducted the first of two ship board dye mixing and dispersion tests to demonstrate successes and limitations related to simple biocide delivery systems for emergency ballast water treatment. Results and a second dye test are expected later this summer.
NPS continues to work with USGS, state, and university partners on nearshore invasive species issues in Lake Michigan, as these may relate to avian botulism outbreaks affecting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. A three-year botulism project was initiated in 2009 with NPS funds. An additional three-year study, also funded by the NPS, is underway with cooperators from Michigan Technological University to explore spiny water flea prevention, dispersal, and ecological effects in inland lakes of several national parks of the Great Lakes region. Finally, Isle Royale National Park Superintendent Green, along with state and university partners, are pursuing several grants to facilitate AIS prevention efforts in the Great Lakes region.
The Great Lakes Parks sent a representative to an Ocean Literacy and Stewardship Messages Workshop hosted by the NPS Northeast Region June 11-12. The workshop will identify key ocean and coastal issues and to develop common messages that engage the public in stewardship. Additionally, NPS is holding a servicewide Ocean and Coastal Parks Workshop in August 2009. The workshop will address issues affecting national parks (including aquatic invasive species), and will review related NPS management strategies, regulations, and policies. Several NPS representatives from the Great Lakes region will participate.
Contact: Gary Vequist, 402-221-4856, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) has begun a new project to develop a database of state and federally regulated species. This database will help 1) the trades who have difficulty wading through all the various regulation and 2) the states who will receive fewer invaders because the trades are able to determine what is prohibited. Thanks to those who have responded to our requests for information and clarification. IISG is also partnering with the US Coast Guard to increase Asian carp outreach near the dispersal barrier, and has initiated a teachers' survey for the "AIS-in-the-classroom" project, which is being led by Oregon Sea Grant. Also, a new Asian Carp processing facility, Heartland Processing, had their grand opening celebration in May. Projections for the facility are that they will be processing 3 1/2 tons per hour running 2 shifts per day. Finally, Illinois has two new AIS sightings: zebra mussels in Deep Quarry Lake in DuPage County, and Brazilian elodea in a retention basin in Lake County.
Contact: Pat Charlebois, 847-872-0140, email@example.com.
Eradication projects for the new aquatic plant invaders have resumed for the year. Lake Manitou hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) eradication has begun its third year of whole-lake Sonar treatment. Prior to the initiation of the 2009 treatment, we had seen a 93% reduction in the hydrilla tuber bank. At the end of the 2009 season, Indiana will likely be approaching $1 million for hydrilla eradication at this 735 acre lake. Parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) eradication has also resumed at a small natural lake in northeast Indiana called Meserve Lake. As a result of a fall 2008 application at this body of water, the parrot feather population appears to be much reduced. We continue to monitor Griffy Lake for the presence of Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa). Whole-lake Sonar treatments in 2006 and 2007 appear to have eliminated the plant as we have not observed it since the spring of 2007. If Brazilian elodea is again undetected in three plant surveys in 2009, we will declare the species eradicated from Griffy Lake.
Indiana DNR is excited to be partnering with a number of entities to further increase momentum on AIS prevention and control. A working group comprising DNR, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, University of Notre Dame, The Nature Conservancy, and people associated with aquatic plants in trade developed an aquatic plant risk assessment tool. Notre Dame initially tested the tool by placing a number of species through it. Additional plants are currently being evaluated by Notre Dame and TNC using the tool. Ultimately DNR hopes to develop a white list of aquatic plants that can be used in trade in Indiana. TNC has secured funding to perform early detection surveys in northern Indiana, southern Michigan, northern Illinois, and northwestern Ohio. Since the discovery of hydrilla in Lake Manitou in 2006, Indiana DNR has been performing early detection surveys within a 60 mile radius around the infested lake. The TNC surveys will alleviate much of the burden placed on DNR personnel to perform the surveys and will expand the search area. Finally, a Notre Dame student is studying the viability of various aquatic plants that could be moved around on boats and trailers. This information would be very valuable to refine a search area for early detection following an infestation.
In the recent Indiana legislative session a bill was passed to create the Indiana Invasive Species Council. The Council has yet to be formed, but it is exciting that increased invasive species activities will likely occur.
Contact: Doug Keller, AIS Coordinator; Indiana Department of Natural Resources; 402 W. Washington St, Rm W273; Indianapolis, IN 46204; 317-234-3883; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan recently released its MI-Great Lakes Plan in January 2009 which includes specific recommendations to address aquatic invasive species issues in the state. In March, a workshop was held to develop near-term action priorities focused on making effective use of existing resources by improving coordination of aquatic invasive species management. Efforts are underway to implement the near-term action priorities with leadership and support from numerous stakeholders in Michigan.
Tremendous work is being done in Michigan to address invasive phragmites. In addition to Michigan's ongoing phragmites control demonstration in Saginaw Bay, Michigan has received $2.6 million in funding from the U.S. Forest Service for invasive species control on public and private including invasive phragmites. Michigan has also received funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to implement an early detection, rapid response effort for invasive phragmites in northwestern Michigan including monitoring and public education. Workshops are being held in various areas of the state to educate the public about the impacts from phragmites invasions and options to early detect and effectively control it's spread.
A new bill has been introduced in the Michigan legislature creating civil fines for transporting aquatic plants on boats and boating equipment. Michigan's invasive species legislation has been revised moving authority for listing and delisting species to the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture. In addition, several species have been added to Michigan's prohibited species list including cylindrospermopsis, fanwort, starry stonewort, rusty crayfish, Eurasian ruffe, and round and tubenose gobies. Quagga and zebra mussels have been added to Michigan's restricted species list. Definitions for each list have now been added to the legislation.
Contact: Roger Eberhardt, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Office of the Great Lakes, P.O. Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909; 517-335-4227; email@example.com.
A Council, comprising nine state agencies, and an advisory committee, comprising 25 NGOs, are charged with the development and implementation of a comprehensive invasive species program in New York State. The Office of Invasive Species Coordination (OISC), within the Department of Environmental Conservation, currently consists of three program staff and a director. In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets employs a full time invasive species coordinator. Within the past year, the NY Invasive Species Research Institute was created at Cornell University. The Institute assisted in organizing the recent conference, Understanding and Managing Biological Invasions as Dynamic Processes. See http://nyisri.org/Odum.aspx. An Invasive Species Clearinghouse web site is under development by New York Sea Grant to provide species-specific information http://nyis.info/ and an iMap GIS database is being created in collaboration with NY Natural Heritage Program www.IMapInvasives.org. The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Partnership http://www.adkinvasives.com/ now receives major support from New York State and OISC is working to contract with the seven remaining regional partnerships for invasive species management.
OISC is working with interested partners to assess a number of nonnative species for the development of prohibited, regulated and unregulated list of species to be included in a report to the legislature by 2010. New York has tried to improve ballast water management through the federal Clean Water Act. It added several additional conditions, via a Section 401 letter of certification to the EPA's Vessel General Permit, to meet NY's water quality standards. Though challenged, a recent decision by the State Supreme Court upheld the State's actions and certification conditions. See www.oag.state.ny.us/media_center/2009/may/may29a_09.html .
New York State experienced numerous invasions in 2008 and 2009. Several waterbodies were treated with rotenone in 2008 to eradicate a population Northern Snakehead Fish. While the treatment resulted in the collection of several hundred specimens, two adult fish were collected during monitoring surveys in 2009. Agency staff are currently evaluating management options. Despite regulations adopted in 2008 that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restricting movement of untreated firewood to no more than 50 miles, Emerald Ash Borer was recently documented in Cattaraugus County and so State and federal agencies have begun delimiting the invasion. Also in 2008, Spiny Water Flea was discovered in Great Sacandaga Lake (and an undocumented report indicates it may also be present in Lake George). This is the first occurrence of the Eurasian native in an inland water body. A collaborative approach to contain the infestation and prevent its introduction into Lake Champlain is underway.
Contact: David Adams, 518-402-9149, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio's newly formed AIS Committee is made up of government, industry, academia, and NGO's and has held several meetings to date. These meetings include invited presentations, discussion of relevant issues, and the revision of Ohio's State Management Plan. The Division of Wildlife became aware of a bighead carp being caught and released by an angler at a lake on Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The Division conducted an electrofishing survey and did not find any bighead carp. The Division will resurvey the lake this summer and will also attempt to determine the origin of this fish. The first record of European rudd in Ohio waters was recorded this week. It was caught by a licensed Ohio commercial fisherman who netted the fish near the Lakeside Pier in Marblehead. Bait bucket releases seems to be the primary mechanism by which rudd have spread in Lake Erie. Ohio Sea Grant sent out two publications (Great Lakes Aquatic Invasions and Invasive Species in Ohio - Pathways, Policies, and Costs) to Governor Ted Strickland, Ohio Legislators, and selected Mayors and County Commissioners along Lake Erie to educate them on the issues related to aquatic invasive species in Ohio.
Contact: John Navarro, ODNR Division of Wildlife, 614-265-6346, email@example.com
The inter-ministerial committee on invasive species is working on:
- priority species lists,
- fact sheets of invasive species,
- mechanism to share information between the ministries and agencies
- Code of best practices for employees
- Early detection network on invasive plants.
The water chestnut eradication program is continuing this summer, as well as the Didymo and VHS monitoring programs.
Contact: Isabelle Simard, 418-521-3907 # 4417, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On May 7, 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wrote to the Great Lakes Congressional Delegation as Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors' AIS Task Force requesting that Congress appropriate funds to credit the Great Lakes States for their contributions to the Asian Carp barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The text of the letter is available at http://www.cglg.org/projects/ais/docs/Carp_Barrier_Credit_Letter_5-7-09.pdf For additional information visit www.cglg.org.
Contact: Lisa Wojnarowski, 312/407-0177, email@example.com
Please see the attached powerpoint presentation, using the "Attachments" tab for this page, for more information on Great Lakes Commission activities since the fall 2008 meeting.
Contact: Kathe Glassner-Shwayder, 734-971-9135, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ballast Water Activities:
TC and DFO continue to collaborate on a number of ongoing AIS projects in relation to Ballast Water:
Evaluation of Density vs. Establishment probability: The first phase of this research, investigating the effect of the IMO Ballast Water Discharge Standards on asexual plankton, is now published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 66: 261-276. Phase II of this research involves examining the rate at which ballast water is diluted into the recipient harbour after leaving the ship. Rhodamine WT dye, and magnetically-attractive particles, will be released into the St. Clair River this July to undertake this research - in collaboration with CAISN, NOAA and the Great Lakes Observing System.
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 (LOPC) for use in ballast water research and monitoring activities. Methodology is now being developed to incorporate these tools into the Canadian ballast water science program.
Evaluation of NaCl brine as an emergency treatment for non-compliant ballast water: Bi-national studies involving DFO, TC, NOAA, SERC, USCG, and the Universities of Windsor and Michigan have been conducted over the last two years to examine the potential use of NaCl brine to treat ballast water. Laboratory studies indicate that brine is an effective treatment methodology against invertebrates of concern to the Great Lakes (see Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 28: 346-353). Studies investigating efficacy under operational ship conditions will be completed in 2009.
DFO received co-funding from TC to conduct a National Risk Assessment to evaluate the current risk of AIS introduction to Canadian waters, including the Great Lakes, via ballast water and hull fouling of commercial vessels. The risk assessment will incorporate results from biological sampling studies conducted across Canada as part of the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network, and will consider the risk posed by domestic and foreign vessels.
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. The remaining issue of Port State Control was discussed at the last FSI meeting in April, but further work will be the subject of an intersessional correspondence group. 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.
Contact: Chris Wiley, Chris.Wiley@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Other AIS Activities:
DFO-CEARA, OMNR, OFAH, McGill University and University of Toronto are collaborating on risk assessments of the aquarium, baitfish, biological supply house (in collaboration with Oregon State University), live food fish and water garden trades in Canada, with emphasis on the Great Lakes basin. Data compilation is nearing completion for the aquarium, live food fish and water garden trades. Once complete, a quantitative relative risk assessment will be conducted on the live trade pathways. This is expected to be completed by the end of 2010. A national level risk assessment has also begun on the ballast water pathway to assess effectiveness of regulations and identify areas in Canada at highest risk from ballast water. DFO-CEARA has begun species-specific risk assessments for New Zealand mudsnail and swamp eel.
DFO-CEARA is developing a tool to quickly predict the potential distribution of freshwater invasive species based on environmental similarity across 600 watersheds in the world. This tool is expected to be completed in Fall 2009. An invader guild tool to predict the impact of potential invaders is being developed in collaboration with McGill University, and is expected to be completed in Spring 2010.
DFO has also completed an evaluation of existing qualitative risk assessment guidelines to determine strengths and weaknesses to inform the development of national guidelines for conducting biological risk assessments of aquatic invasive species. This information will be published and available shortly, along with updated formal guidelines.
Contact: Sarah Bailey, Sarah.Bailey@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Private Groups (Environmental, Commercial, User)
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. NCRAC released in February 2009 a fact sheet written by Glenda Dvorak entitled "Biosecurity for Aquaculture Facilities in the North Central Region" which is available at http://www.ncrac.org/NR/rdonlyres/2C878A92-8D58-4DCB-AAE0-C88A2F3A1152/96237/FS115Biosecurity.pdf. In effort to increase the numbers of qualified aquatic animal specialists availability to the aquaculture industry in the 12-state North Central Region (which includes 6 Great Lakes states), a tuition waver has been made available through the NCRAC-funded North Central Regional Aquaculture Extension Specialist project for the on-line portion of the Fish Health Medicine Program offered by the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. Over 40 veterinarians had enrolled for that program by the May 7, 2009.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has received several million dollars of money from the U.S. Congress related to the control of VHS, including surveillance and compliance, education and outreach, and confirmatory testing beginning with fiscal year 2007 (FY2007) and continuing through FY2009. In March 2008 a VHS Educational Alliance was formed to advise and direct APHIS's VHS education and outreach campaign. One of the products of APHIS's education and outreach activities has been the development of a new Web site - www.FocusOnFishHealth.org - which focuses on VHS disease prevention. This Web site was launched in February 2009 and was developed by Glenda Dvorak who is in the Center for Food Security and Public Health (http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/) at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The Web site is designed to help boaters, anglers, aquaculture producers, and bait fish dealers learn more about the serious nature of VHS and it encourages them to take measures that will slow or prevent the spread of the disease and it also also serves as a clearinghouse for VHS resources. Extension specialists, educators and researchers can view the resources developed by their colleagues and download the latest information about VHS. Batterson continues to serve as the facilitator for the VHS Educational Alliance. And finally, on January 2, 2009 APHIS announced in the Federal Register (Vol. 74, No. 1/Friday, January 2, 2009) that they were indefinitely delaying the effective date of their September 9, 2008 interim rule pertaining to VHS.
Contact: Ted Batterson, 517-353-1962, email@example.com.
NWF staff have been involved in various education, outreach and advocacy efforts in the past six months, including a presentation (by Nick Schroeck) at the Leelanau County Phragmites Educational Forum in Suttons Bay, MI on March 18, 2009, and media work concerning the U.S. EPA report Predicting Future Introductions of Nonindigenous Species to the Great Lakes. NWF staff have also been involved in Great Lakes fora that have included discussions on aquatic invasive species, including through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Great Meta Strategy, and the Great Lakes Futures Roundtable. In addition, staff have taken part in discussions with other NGOs on how a renegotiated Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement might address AIS issues. We have also remained involved in policy and legal aspects of state 401 certifications of U.S. EPA's Vessel General Permit and related matters, including submitting (with Natural Resources Defense Council, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and other groups) comments on the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permit for ballast water discharges.
Contact: Michael Murray, 7334-887-7110, firstname.lastname@example.org
HabitattitudeTM continues to be promoted by Minnesota Sea Grant along with state partners to promote awareness among consumers to prevent release and escape of aquarium and water garden plants and animals. Awareness was raised through presentations at meetings and hosting booths at fairs, others events and to clubs. In May, Sea Grant co-sponsored the 17th Annual River Quest, a ship-board educational experience for Duluth area students in May. A booth featuring "Get Habitattitude!" reached 874 6th graders from seven area schools.
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!TM surveys delivered at water accesses in MN, IA and WI in 2006 and 2007 reveal not only that the campaign is reaching tri-state boaters and anglers, but also that it continues to raise their awareness and empower them to take appropriate actions to prevent the spread of AIS. Over 97% of IA, MN and WI boater and angler respondents were more aware and likely to take future action at water accesses. Roughly 15% more WI and IA boaters and anglers were influenced to take future action at water accesses in 2007 compared to 2006 based on their exposure to the campaign's messages. According to Wildlife Forever, a partner through their "Threats" campaign, in 2006-2007 our collective efforts were potentially seen or heard 263 million times. Results strongly suggest that states and other entities that make Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! a priority can work to protect our waters from the spread of harmful AIS. In July, Sea Grant will partner with Mills Fleet Farm and many organizations across MN, WI, IA, and ND to promote Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! through their Kids Fishing Appreciation Day. We will also promote Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! at Lakes Superior Days 2009 events, July 16-19 in the Duluth and North Shore communities. Visit: www.superforum.org.
Extending Outreach to the Shoreline
Staff continues to work with University of Minnesota Extension and WaterResourceCenter to revise Shoreland Education resource materials and sponsor workshops. Invasive species issues were featured in Extension's From Shore to Shore newsletter.
Responding to Ballast Water Issues
Last winter, Sea Grant was asked to provide advice on state legislative and rulemaking efforts to address ballast water. In doing so, Sea Grant was recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard, MN Pollution Control Agency, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and the American Great Lakes Ports Association for bringing together diverse stakeholders and for providing expertise on ballast water and maritime commerce. Sea Grant partnered on the Great Ships Initiative, which will test vendor-produced technologies for preventing AIS from ballast water discharges using a research facility in Superior,WI. Test results concerning the efficacy of treatment systems will be used internationally. Sea Grant communications co-led production of Lake Superior Ballast Water Research, Superior Science News Radio Show mp3 file (7:16). Sea Grant staff published articles about ballast water in various regional newsletters and periodicals.
Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Fish Symposium
Sea Grant will lead a symposium to discuss the potential for managing invasive aquatic animals through genetic technologies and methods, June 21-24, 2010, Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis,MN (see http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/ais/biocontrol).
Contact: Doug Jensen, MN Sea Grant, 218.726.8712, email@example.com. NOTE NEW ADDRESS: University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program, 144 Chester Park, 31 W. College Street, Duluth, MN 55812-1998