EPA Invasive Species Projects

In addition to the Great Lakes Protection Fund project on Automated Ballast Verification, the Ram Laboratory is working on two EPA projects funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. 

2010 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 

Project Title: Verification of Ballast Water Treatment Technologies

This project is developing robust systems to enable VERIFICATION of BALLAST WATER TREATMENTS in achieving ZERO INTRODUCTIONS of non-native organisms into the Great Lakes. MOLECULAR METHODS and FLUORESCENCE MICROSCOPY are being used to differentiate live-from-dead over a broad range of potential INVASIVE and PATHOGENIC species. Milestones of the project include optimizing and comparing the 2 approaches; design treatment, PRESERVATION, and SAMPLE TRACKING; and applying the developed technologies to SHIPBOARD TESTS; facilitated by COLLABORATIONS with the National Park Service and DFO, Canada. 

2011 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative     

Project Title: Invasives Early Warning Systems Validation in Toledo Harbor

   EARLY WARNING of INVASIVE SPECIES will facilitate rapid responses, reduced impacts, and remediation. Intensive survey and taxonomy methods are being applied to DETECT novel species in TOLEDO HARBOR, "the port of greatest concern for…propagules and…habitat" (EPA). Methods tested in Duluth Harbor will be enhanced by MOLECULAR "BARCODING" TECHNIQUES in the Maumee River and Lake Erie. COLLABORATION with community groups, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Canadian scientists will enhance success and impact. Outcome: rapid responses to invasives in the GREAT LAKES become possible.         

 Background on the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan:  http://glri.us/pdfs/glri_actionplan.pdf 

The following data is posted from http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/glri/invasives.html  and describes the 2012 EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants in the area of Invasive Species:

Early Detection      
Development of a Portable Monitoring Device for High-Risk Invasive Species Michigan State University $600,000 This project will perform the laboratory and fieldwork necessary to develop a portable environmental DNA (eDNA)-based detection device which will be able to detect high-risk aquatic invasive species of concern in the Great Lakes basin. The device will be evaluated to assess sensitivity to small amounts of eDNA, species-specificity, speed, and ruggedness.
Improving eDNA-Based Surveillance Programs for High-Risk Potentially Invasive Species University of Notre Dame $599,930 This project will result in the ability to use eDNA to identify a greater number of high-risk invasive fish, mussels and plants. The project will result in improved information on species population size; a better understanding of eDNA longevity under different environmental conditions; and increased speed and portability of invasive species detection methods. The project will enhance the early detection of invasive species and the effectiveness of rapid response programs.
Using DNA for Early Detection of High-Risk Invasive Fish Species University of Toledo $598,922 This project seeks to develop an accurate DNA-based diagnostic test on water samples that will enable the early detection of high-risk invasive fish species. The test is intended to be easy to use, rapid, and inexpensive. It is intended to be effective even in the presence of very small fish populations, and will be able to detect the presence of fish regardless of their life-stage (e.g., eggs, larvae, or adults).
Reducing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species Via "Organisms in Trade" Regents of University of Minnesota $400,000 The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network (GLSGN) will implement a research, education and outreach initiative to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species via the sales of bait, aquarium fish and other live organisms in trade. As part of this initiative, GLSGN will host a research symposium and will implement several outreach programs, including an expanded version of the "Nab the Aquatic Invader!" youth education program.
Protecting the Great Lakes from Internet Trade of Aquatic Invasive Species Great Lakes Commission $400,000 The project will develop software to assess the availability of invasive species via internet sales (i.e., Organisms in Trade or "OIT"), identify sellers of OIT, and assist regulators in developing and implementing targeted OIT management activities. This project will provide management tools to decision-makers and regulators, present information on the internet marketplace, better quantify the overall risks associated with internet sales of OIT, and present options for additional action to effectively prevent further releases of OIT into the environment.
Lake Ontario Headwaters Watercraft Inspection Program Paul Smith's College of Arts & Sciences $399,891 The project will prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in the headwaters of eastern Lake Ontario by funding Paul Smith's College to implement a new round of watercraft inspections at public boat launches in western Adirondack Park. Inspectors will provide recreational boaters with information about the risks that AIS pose to the Great Lakes and will prevent new introductions of AIS by removal of watercraft-borne organisms.
Educating Aquaculture Suppliers and Hobbyists about Threats from Aquatic Invasive Species Board of Trustees University of Illinois $398,009 This project will prevent the introduction of "aquatic organisms in trade" into the Great Lakes by educating hobbyists and suppliers in the aquarium, water garden, and biological supply trades about invasive species-related risks. An assessment of educational needs will be conducted and the results of that assessment will be used to create new outreach tools and to improve existing tools. These outreach tools will be distributed throughout the Great Lakes basin by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
Monitoring of Invasive Species in Ballast Water University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee $377,715 The applicant will develop holograph-based technology and related software that will allow for the detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in places and in environments where such detection is not currently feasible. In particular, the technology will allow vessels to monitor for the presence of AIS in ballast water at the start of, during, and at the end of a voyage. In addition, the applicant will hold webinars on AIS detection.
Assessing Aquatic Invasive Species Risk in the Erie Canal Corridor Central Michigan University $356,154 This project will assess the risks presented by aquatic invasive species (AIS) to the Erie Canal Corridor (ECC). The project will catalogue non-native species in the Mohawk-Hudson River and Lake Champlain basins and identify currently-restricted AIS that have the potential to spread into the ECC. By using environmental DNA surveys, the project will help identify the current range of priority AIS, potential invasion pathways, and future surveillance needs.
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Monitoring in the Eastern Great Lakes Basin The Nature Conservancy $315,059 This project supports the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, pursuant to Public Law 112-74. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will develop models that predict the spread of hydrilla verticillata and other aquatic invasive species (AIS) across the New York, northwestern Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio portion of the Great Lakes basin. TNC will also conduct monitoring surveys for targeted AIS and will use this monitoring data to plan, promote, and develop local AIS control projects.
Evaluating Potential Pathways for the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species Wayne State University $310,995 This project will develop and test methods for calculating risks from various pathways of aquatic invasive species (AIS) transfer. This project will then determine the best AIS monitoring, sampling, and prevention strategies for Great Lakes areas with the highest risk of invasion. Project results will be integrated into a decision-making process that matches various types and degrees of AIS-related risk with recommended management strategies.
Train Local Groups to Inspect and Wash Fishing Tourney Boats The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System $294,819 This project will draw upon existing partnerships within the Great Lakes basin to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) by training local community groups to efficiently and effectively inspect and wash boats at fishing tournaments. National tournament organizers often lack the personnel to clean boats before or after such tournaments, and they rely on local groups to help launch and retrieve boats, park vehicles and direct traffic. Training local volunteers to inspect and clean tournament boats will help minimize AIS-risk via this potential AIS pathway.
Working with Waterfowl Hunters to Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species in the Great Lakes Wildlife Forever $233,830 Wildlife Forever will develop and implement a multimedia information program to show waterfowl hunters how to reduce the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species via transport of waterfowl hunting equipment such as boats and trailers, decoys, hunting dogs, and blinds in the Great Lakes Basin.
Working with Recreational Anglers and Boaters to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species Cornell University $227,484 This project will increase efforts by government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the Lake Ontario region to communicate with anglers and boaters about the risks that invasive species pose to the Great Lakes and to discourage actions that contribute to the spread of invasive species.
Improving the Early Detection of Invasive Ponto-Caspian Fishes in the Great Lakes Research Foundation of SUNY-Buffalo State College $99,756 This project will assess the invasive potential for high-risk Ponto-Caspian fishes from European shipping ports. This project will then assess Great Lakes ports to identify high-risk locations and time periods that are a strong habitat match for these high-risk invasive fishes. This data will be used to focus surveillance and early detection efforts for invasive Ponto-Caspian fishes likely to adapt to the waters of the Great Lakes.
Green Corps Invasive Species Removal Jobs in the Millennium Reserve Illinois Department of Natural Resources $396,380 The project will control invasive species on more than 200 acres in the high-priority "Calumet Core" of the Millennium Reserve, in the southern Lake Michigan watershed. The Calumet Core includes remnants of dune and swale topography and vast open-water marshes. These sites are important because they are part of a Lake Michigan migratory bird route that provides breeding and stopover habitat.
Controlling Terrestrial Invasive Species in Northwest Lower Michigan Grand Traverse Conservation District $399,971 The project will control Phragmites and other terrestrial invasive species on over 3000 acres of public and private land located in Manistee, Benzie, Leelanau, and Grand Traverse Counties. The project will also control Phragmites and other terrestrial invasive species on more than 240 acres of newly-exposed bottomland in the vicinity of three decommissioned hydroelectric dams along the Boardman River. In addition, the project will increase the awareness of the residents of the targeted four-county area regarding the impacts of invasive species.
Use of a Chemical Repellent to Improve Sea Lamprey Control Michigan State University $392,823 The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of using a chemical repellant to prevent sea lamprey from entering three potential lamprey spawning streams in Michigan that have a history of lamprey infestation. The use of the chemical repellent is expected to improve the efficiency of the sea lamprey pesticide control program by limiting sea lamprey spawning activity (and the need for pesticide treatments) to a smaller number of Great Lakes watersheds.
Invasive Plant Control, Ashtabula River Watershed The Nature Conservancy $345,741 The project will reduce the abundance and distribution of invasive plant species including Phragmites australis, purple loosestrife, and hybrid cattail on 400 acres of land in the Ashtabula River watershed in Ohio. A map of invasive plant species will be used by the project manager to identify stream areas and wetlands where control of invasive species is a priority. The project will reduce the migration of invasive plants to floodplains, stream corridors and wetlands located outside the Ashtabula Area of Concern.
Invasive Species Removal in Southeast Wisconsin The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Inc. $448,663 The project consists of an inventory of invasive plant species in approximately 1,500 acres of wetland and riparian habitats in a six-county area of Southeast Wisconsin, followed by chemical treatment and elimination of these invasive plants and re-seeding of the treated areas with native species. The project will restore and protect wetlands and stream segments currently threatened by infestations of invasive plant species.
Invasive Species Control on Tribal Lands in Wisconsin Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council Inc $399,978 The project will remove terrestrial and aquatic invasive plant species such as Phragmites, purple loosestrife, and narrow leaf cattail from 1,000 acres of tribal lands within the Great Lakes Basin in Wisconsin. In addition, through the applicant's existing partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the project will establish new culturally acceptable tribal technical standards for "non-herbicide" invasive species control.