Article provided by: Wisconsin AIS Partnership

One of the many challenges facing a healthy waterbody is how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) to protect the ecological, social, and economic benefits that we so greatly cherish in Wisconsin. Prevention of AIS is key to the long-term sustainability of ‘lake life’ and needs to be at the forefront of any protection strategy. Simply put, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But if only it were just that simple. The variables and situations that can impact a waterbody may seem so limitless that it can be daunting to know where to start. As a lake resident, you might consider questions such as:

Does the boat launch near my house have an AIS prevention sign?
What if a new AIS is documented in our lake?
What are people doing upstream that could impact our lake?
Do they follow AIS prevention laws?
Where will the next visiting boat come from and will they have taken prevention steps?
What if they didn’t? What then? What next?…

The problem can feel overwhelming. The important thing is that each of us can do something. Big or small. Simple or complex. New or old. Every action counts and every action matters. As a lake resident, you are in a unique stakeholder position to do something particularly powerful and that is to flex your consumer power when it comes to services that you might need as part of your lake life. These might be services such as dock and lift installation/maintenance, shoreline construction work, etc. Any activity that involves installing, removing, operating, and transporting water-related equipment, structures, and gear presents a high risk of inadvertently transporting and spreading AIS without proper decontamination. While everyone is required to “inspect, remove, and drain” per Wisconsin State Statutes NR40, these steps might not always be 100% effective especially for high-risk users such as service providers who are often working on multiple lakes in a single day and interacting with lake water and sediment in ways that recreational users are not. These kinds of service providers need to follow the same prevention steps that we all do, but they are not required to take the extended steps, such as spraying equipment with a bleach solution, making it all the more important for consumers to advocate for their lake.

To flex your consumer muscle, here are some simple ideas to consider –

• Ask your existing or prospective provider what AIS prevention steps they take.
• Build ‘decontamination’ into the service contract. Ask that the provider implement at least one decontamination option (see figure) and provide you with documentation such as a video, logbook, or arrange to witness it in-person.
• Talk with your neighbor or lake group to discuss the possibility of hiring the same provider to reduce the number of providers coming to the lake throughout the season.

Thank you for being a steward of your lake!

Photo Credit: Steph Boismenue, McGhiever

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post How Lake Stewardship & Consumer Power Can Help Prevent the Spread of AIS appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2024/05/20/how-lake-stewardship-consumer-power-can-help-prevent-the-spread-of-ais/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-lake-stewardship-consumer-power-can-help-prevent-the-spread-of-ais

Chris Acy

April Ends with Four Additional Launches Adopted

The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Adopt a Launch Program is off to its fastest start in years! As we end the month of April, we have had four new launches be adopted across the watershed.

  • Fred Miller Park Boat Launch, City of Omro – Girl Scout Troop 2147
  • Telulah Park Kayak Launch, City of Appleton – Valley New School
  • Lutz Park Boat Launch, City of Appleton – Fox River Academy
  • 1000 Islands Kayak Launch, City of Kaukauna – Julie Eddy & Linda Olson

With several more launch adoptions underway, 2024 is shaping to be one of the largest increases in boat launches adopted in the Program’s history. The Fox-Wolf Adopt-a-Launch Program works to improve and clean up the lakes and rivers by engaging community members through volunteer efforts at boat launches. Volunteers are helping to identify new introductions of aquatic invasive species (AIS), prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by removing plant and debris at launch sites, improve and protect habitat and water quality by removing garbage, help ensure recreational boating facilities are maintained by reporting issues, and develop a sense of pride and ownership for the waterways. Want to get involved? Here’s how to join our amazing volunteers!

Photo Credit: Chris Acy

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post Adopt a Launch Program Flourishes Early in 2024 appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2024/05/01/adopt-a-launch-program-flourishes-early-in-2024/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adopt-a-launch-program-flourishes-early-in-2024

Chris Acy

Additional Monitoring Reveals No Other Spiny Waterfleas

Following up from a spiny water flea finding in Lake Winnebago in 2022, the WI Department of Natural Resources and local partners conducted extensive monitoring for spiny water fleas through the summer and fall of 2022. Biologists were searching for additional adult spiny waterfleas as well as eggs that would have been laid in the sediment of the lake. Following analysis of the samples collected, we are please to report that no evidence of spiny waterflea were found which includes not finding any eggs!

This is fantastic news for our waterways! Currently, there is no evidence that the spiny waterfleas found in 2022 were able to establish a population in Lake Winnebago. Ongoing monitoring by UW-Green Bay as part of the Fox River Navigational System Authority (FRNSA) AIS Monitoring Program will continue to keep an eye out for spiny waterflea and other invasive species.

Remember- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s easy to help prevent the spread of all aquatic invasive species between lakes. No matter what lake or river you visit, follow these steps to protect your wild places:

Spiny waterflea on a fingertip

· Inspect equipment (boats, fishing line, etc.) for attached aquatic plant, animals, or mud

· Remove all attached plants or animals

· Drain all water from buckets and containers

· Never move live fish away from a waterbody (fish out of water = dead)

Photo Credit: Riley Schultz (UWGB), WI Sea Grant, Donn Brandstrator (UM-Duluth), Chris Acy

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post Update: 2022 Spiny Waterflea Findings in Lake Winnebago appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2024/04/24/update-2022-spiny-waterflea-findings-in-lake-winnebago/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=update-2022-spiny-waterflea-findings-in-lake-winnebago

Chris Acy

Finding creative new ways to manage invasive cattails

Hot dog on a stick. Water torch. Supermarket of the swamp.

Cattails go by many names, but almost everyone can recognize the pervasive wetland plant  that grows along lakes, ponds, marshes, and swamps.

Their thin green stems and leaves can reach up to nearly ten feet in height.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/04/finding-creative-new-ways-to-manage-invasive-cattails/

Lily Stewart, Great Lakes Now

Illinois and Army Corps at an impasse over building barrier to prevent invasive carp

By Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco, WBEZ

This coverage is made possible through a partnership between WBEZ and Grist, a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. Sign up for WBEZ newsletters to get local news you can trust.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/03/illinois-and-army-corps-at-an-impasse-over-building-barrier-to-prevent-invasive-carp/

WBEZ

From the Ice Age to Now: A Lake Erie timeline

Lake Erie covers about 9,900 square miles and stretches 240 miles from southwest to northeast with an average depth of 62 feet. It borders four states and the province of Ontario. About 12 million people live in the watershed, including 17 major metropolitan areas. More than 10 million people rely on the lake as a source of drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/03/from-the-ice-age-to-now-a-lake-erie-timeline/

James Proffitt, Great Lakes Now

Opportunities Abound; Volunteer While Doing What You Love!

The warmer weather and open water is calling! When you’re out doing your favorite activities this spring and summer, you could be helping protect your lakes and rivers! Learn about some of the volunteer opportunities at Fox-Wolf below. Our volunteer opportunities give you the flexibility to do what you love while protecting your waters!

Adopt-a-Launch

Join community members in helping improve boat launches ! Interested individuals will adopt a local boat launch and help remove plants from the launch area, pick up litter, and report issues with the launch. Volunteers also help protect our lakes by searching for aquatic invasive species at their launch!  Adopt-a-Launch program is a Fox-Wolf program that works to engage community members in taking ownership of their lakes by helping to search for aquatic invasive species and improve boat launchesGet involved today!

Project Riverine Early Detectors

Love to paddle, kayak, or canoe in rivers and streams? Help look for invasive species during this relaxing pastime! You will be trained on how to easily identify aquatic invasive species, some native look-a-likes, and how you can keep an eye out for them when you’re floating just around the riverbend!

Citizen Lake Monitoring Network

Join 1000+citizen volunteers statewide to collect high quality data on the lakes that you love! CLMN volunteers help monitor their lakes for a variety of things including water quality parameters, ice on/off, and aquatic invasive species! Volunteers help determine which topics they are interested in monitoring. The information gathered by volunteers is even used by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and university biologists and researchers, UW-Extension, and other interested individuals in projects that work to improve your lake! Help keep track of changes in your lake while being near your favorite Winnebago lake! This opportunity is easy to do from both the shoreline as well as your boat!

Purple loosestrife Biocontrol

Love to garden! This one’s for you! Help control harmful invasive species in our community! The invasive plant Purple loosestrife can quickly dominate a wetland and harm our native plants. You can help by raising a natural predator of Purple loosestrife (Galerucella beetles) on caged, potted, loosestrife plants in your backyard. Once released into local infested wetlands, the beetles only eat purple loosestrife, giving native plants a chance to re-establish. This DNR program, locally coordinated by Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, offers free supplies and does not require previous experience. Access to an outdoor space within reach of a garden hose is ideal, but we are also looking for volunteers to help with plant potting and beetle release events.

Clean Boats, Clean Waters

Love talking with people? Get involved in the effort to protect Wisconsin lakes and rivers by stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species. As a volunteer watercraft inspector, you will take up the front line by conducting boater education at boat landings in your community. Inspectors perform boat and trailer checks for aquatic invasive species, educate boaters on how to stop the spread, and collect and report new infestations. Meet other anglers and boaters from across the Midwest!

AIS Statewide Snapshot Day

Want a single day event that’s fun for the whole family? During the statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Snapshot Day, join other water quality enthusiasts in searching for invasive species that harm our waterways. Learn how to search for invasive species that may affect the waters that are special to you. You can choose to search from the shore with binoculars and a rake or wade into friendly waters to get a better look! This event is fun for the whole family and really makes a difference in the fight against invasive species. AIS Snapshot Day occurs on August 10th, 2024.

How To Get Started

Give the greatest gift this year to your waters; your time! Whether you want a single day opportunity or want to help out throughout the summer, we will help you fuel your environmental passions at Fox-Wolf! View more of Fox-Wolf’s volunteer opportunities by visiting: https://fwwa.org/join-us/volunteer-with-fwwa/

Interested? Contact – Chris Acy, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance AIS Coordinator. chris@fwwa.org. (920) 460-3674

Photo Credit: Dan O’Connell, Chris Acy

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post Warming Weather? Help Volunteer to Protect Your Favorite Places appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2024/03/13/warming-weather-help-volunteer-to-protect-your-favorite-places/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=warming-weather-help-volunteer-to-protect-your-favorite-places

Chris Acy

Oshkosh, Neenah Play Host Exotic Pet Surrender Events

Original Story: John Moyles, J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue

In an effort to address the challenges of rehoming exotic pets and discourage the harmful practice of releasing them into the wild, J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue hosted several successful Exotic Pet Surrender Events on January 13th and March 2nd, 2024. The event, held at the organization’s rescue center in Neenah, aimed to provide responsible alternatives and a judgement-free environment for pet owners who can no longer care for their exotic animals.

A staggering 460 animals, ranging from fish and reptiles to pet birds and small mammals, found their way to new beginnings through the event. Among the surrendered animals were fish, lizards, snakes, and even a colony of roaches, highlighting the diverse range of creatures in need of assistance.

The event was not only about surrendering pets but also about education and advocacy. Attendees had the opportunity to meet Animal Ambassadors and learn about their unique stories, reinforcing the message of responsible pet ownership. A photobooth with rescued pets allowed for cherished memories to be captured and shared, further fostering a sense of community and compassion.

Collaborating with regional rehoming partners such as Reptile Rescue of Wisconsin, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, Pet Advocacy Network, and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant/Water Resources Institutes, J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue facilitated the surrender of four animals, including fish, a tortoise, and birds. This collaborative effort ensures that these animals are given proper care and attention.

All surrendered pets undergo a brief quarantine and evaluation period to ensure their health and well-being before becoming available for adoption. This meticulous process reflects the commitment of the organizers to find suitable homes for these animals and prevent any negative impact on the local ecosystem.

For those who missed the event, J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue reminds the public that they can surrender pets at their Rescue Center in Neenah or find information about upcoming Surrender Events on their website: https://www.jraar.org/exoticpetsurrenderevents. With 29 events planned for the year there are ample opportunities for pet owners to seek assistance in rehoming their animals.

The success of the Exotic Pet Surrender Event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Ship Your Reptiles, Chemipure, Jellyfish Art, Reef Aquaria Design, and Festival Foods. Their support enables J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue to continue providing valuable services to the community and promoting responsible exotic pet ownership.

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on X! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Winnebago Waterways and Keepers of the Fox are Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance programs. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization working to protect and restore water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post 400+ Exotic Pets Rehomed, Mitigating Potential Releases Into Waterways appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2024/03/13/400-exotic-pets-rehomed-mitigating-potential-releases-into-waterways/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=400-exotic-pets-rehomed-mitigating-potential-releases-into-waterways

Chris Acy

2024 Federal Policy Priorities

Significant progress continues to be made in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes, but much more needs to be done. Although increased federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment Act these last two years has allowed states and the federal government to address some key issues, including water infrastructure and the cleanup of toxic legacy pollution, we still have too many Great Lakers experiencing polluted water. Invasive species continue to threaten the lakes, nutrient runoff continues to negatively affect our water quality, and plastic pollutes our beaches and drinking water. 

In our 2024 federal policy priorities, we’ve identified the top five opportunities for Congress and federal agencies to address these challenges. Many of these priorities are familiar and are carried over from last year when Congress made little progress on substantive legislation. For the upcoming year, Congress and the administration must address key issues. These include passing an annual federal budget to provide states with sufficient federal resources to fix our ailing water infrastructure; enacting a Farm Bill that will reduce the flow of nutrient pollution into the lakes; maintaining progress on key federal projects intended to stop invasive species; and providing funding and reauthorization for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to continue support for on-the-ground restoration projects.

Equity and justice are embedded throughout these policy priorities and must be considered at every step of the federal decision-making process to ensure that all Great Lakers have access to safe, clean, affordable water. Repairing the long-term harm from environmental injustices isn’t a one-off action and federal decision-makers must prioritize disadvantaged communities where the burden of pollution and the lack of essential services often hit the hardest. Congress and the administration must ensure that community voices are at the table – and listened to – from the beginning of all decision-making.

Read on for full details of our 2024 Great Lakes federal policy priorities, or download the fact sheet to learn more.

Water infrastructure.

Increase water infrastructure funding, prioritize funding for communities most in need  

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress late in 2021 was an important down payment to fix the nation’s failing and outdated water infrastructure. The funding will jump-start efforts to replace dangerous lead pipes, fix leaky pipes, and stop sewage overflows.

However, the funding is only a start. EPA’s 7th national Drinking Water Needs Information Survey and Assessment, completed just last year, estimates that the Great Lakes region will need at least $225.2 billion over the next twenty years to fix our water infrastructure problems. This is an increase from the last national survey and indicates that federal funding is not keeping up with needs. Currently, the infrastructure bill will provide Great Lakes states with an additional $1.8 billion per year for the next five years. It is clearly not enough. We need to keep the pressure on Congress to provide additional funds for water infrastructure programs. Additionally, funding programs must be structured to ensure that money reaches communities with the highest need, such as those with many lead pipes.

In 2024, we urge Congress to: 

  • Increase annual funding to at least $9.3 billion for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds
  • Increase by $1 billion annual funding levels for lead service line replacement and emerging contaminants
  • Set aside at least 20 percent of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund as grants for green infrastructure projects such as green roofs, permeable pavement, and additional green spaces
  • Pass a federal ban on residential water shutoffs 
  • Establish a federal program to provide financial assistance for water and sewer bills 

In 2024 we urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to: 

  • Require that states accepting federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 are increasing funding and technical assistance for disadvantaged communities so that they are equipped to advance through the SRF selection process 
  • Issue a final Lead and Copper Rule requiring cities to meet ambitious timelines for lead service line replacement

Download the water infrastructure fact sheet.

Agriculture.

Pass a Farm Bill that prioritizes clean water 

Agriculture is the largest unaddressed source of nonpoint pollution in the Great Lakes region. Runoff from agricultural lands puts the Great Lakes at risk. It pollutes drinking water, threatens wildlife, harms the regional economy, and prevents people from enjoying recreation on the Great Lakes. 

Every five years, Congress develops a “Farm Bill,” a major package of legislation that sets the agenda and funding for national farm and food policy. Congress passed a one-year extension of the Farm Bill in 2023, so in 2024 Congress can pass a Farm Bill that ensures farms produce clean water, not pollution, along with their crops.    

In 2024, we urge Congress to pass a Farm Bill that: 

  • Increases funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs  
  • Includes provisions to ensure accountability for farm conservation programs aimed at stopping runoff pollution from agricultural lands
  • Reduces funding for concentrated animal feeding operations 

Download the agriculture fact sheet.

Plastic pollution.

Pass legislation to stop plastic pollution  

Researchers estimate that 22 million pounds of plastic pollution enter the Great Lakes each year. Plastic pollution isn’t just an unsightly problem in our waterways. It’s estimated that humans ingest a credit card-sized amount of plastic each week, with unknown long-term consequences for our health. 

For many years, efforts to stop plastic pollution put the responsibility on the end-user, such as recycling. But only a fraction of plastic produced each year is recycled, leaving the remainder to end up in landfills or as litter that lands in our waterways. The alternative is to require plastic producers to be responsible for their products through their lifecycle, which is called extended producer responsibility. Congress has an opportunity to be a leader on this issue.  

In 2024, we urge Congress to pass legislation that: 

  • Makes plastic waste producers responsible for its reduction 
  • Reduces the federal government’s use of single-use plastics, including polystyrene foam 
  • Funds additional research on the public health impact of plastics

Download the plastic pollution fact sheet.

Invasive species.

Protect the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species  

Invasive species have caused irreparable harm to the Great Lakes ecosystem and cost the region billions of dollars since the late 1980s. Preventing them from ever entering is the best way to protect the Great Lakes. The battle against invasive species is focused on two fronts – stopping invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes and cleaning up ship ballast tanks.  

Established populations of invasive carp are only 50 miles from Chicago and Lake Michigan. But it’s not too late to prevent them from reaching the lakes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed constructing additional carp prevention measures at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The facility is a critical choke point in the waterways leading to Lake Michigan. Congress and federal agencies must continue to support this project. 

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened the Great Lakes to direct ocean-going shipping. Unfortunately, ships brought invasive species along for the ride in their ballast tanks. Although regulations to clean up ship ballast tanks have reduced introductions, loopholes remain for “lakers,” ships operating solely in the Great Lakes. The U.S. EPA can close that loophole. 

In 2024, we urge Congress to: 

  • Include language in the next Water Resources Development Act to authorize 100 percent federal funding for the annual operations and maintenance of the Brandon Road Interbasin Project, which is being implemented to stop invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes 

In 2024, we urge federal agencies to take the following actions: 

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should execute a Project Partnership Agreement with the State of Illinois for the Brandon Road Interbasin Project so that the project may proceed to phase 1 construction this fall and continue public participation for the project’s implementation
  • The U.S. EPA should issue final rules requiring all vessels operating on the Great Lakes, including lakers, to clean up their ballast tanks

Download the invasive species fact sheet.

Great Lakes restoration.

Fund, update, and reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is one of the most important tools in the region’s toolbox to protect and restore the lakes. The program provides funding for on-the-ground restoration projects, from wetland restoration to cleaning up toxic hotspots. In addition to environmental benefits, GLRI funding garners an additional 3-to-1 return in economic benefits.  

While we need continued investment in Great Lakes restoration, the strategy guiding the GLRI was developed almost 20 years ago and needs an update. Federal agencies should revise the Great Lakes restoration strategy to address the next generation of threats to the lakes, including climate change and long-standing environmental injustices. In addition, the program’s authorization will expire in 2026, so action will be needed by Congress in the near future to reauthorize and extend the GLRI program. 

In 2024, we urge Congress to: 

  • Fund the GLRI with at least $450 million in FY 2024
  • Reauthorize the GLRI program at $500 million per year for five years from FY 2027-2031

In 2024, we urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take the following action: 

  • U.S. EPA should issue the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan IV to address environmental injustice, climate resilience, and the next generation of risks to the Great Lakes

Download the Great Lakes restoration fact sheet.

The post Top 5 Great Lakes Federal Policy Priorities for 2024 appeared first on Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Original Article

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

https://greatlakes.org/2024/02/top-5-great-lakes-federal-policy-priorities-for-2024/

Judy Freed

Horticulturist, author, and speaker Melinda Myers will discuss key invasive plants in Wisconsin, share tips on identification, provide ways to control some of the more common problem plants, and suggest alternative plants foSee attached a recent article that Bret Shaw, myself, and other collaborators recently had published in Biological Invasions. Below and attached is some text that helps explain the results of the paper that you can feel free to use in any newsletters you all provide content for. Also attached is factsheet we produced as part of this project a few years ago that covers some of the other recommendations from this project.r your landscape.  We hope you can join Melinda to learn more about this important issue.

Webinar: February 28th, 2024 6:30pm

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on X! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Winnebago Waterways and Keepers of the Fox are Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance programs. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization working to protect and restore water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post Free Webinar: Create a Beautiful Landscape Free of Invasive Plants appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2024/02/15/free-webinar-create-a-beautiful-landscape-free-of-invasive-plants/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=free-webinar-create-a-beautiful-landscape-free-of-invasive-plants

Chris Acy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 6, 2024) – Today, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH), Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and Representative David Joyce (R-OH) sponsored the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2024, a bill intended to reauthorize the GLRI program for a five-year period at $500 million per year.

GLRI funding assists states, tribes and local communities in implementing crucial on-the-ground projects, including habitat restoration, helping farmers do more to combat non-point source agrichemical run-off, cleaning up legacy pollution and toxic sediments, and preventing the establishment or spread of destructive invasive species. It is a well-established program that helps protect 22% of the world’s source of freshwater.

“The Alliance would like to thank Senators Stabenow and Vance, and Representatives Dingell and Joyce for sponsoring bipartisan legislation to continue this important program that directly benefits the tens of millions of Americans living in the Great Lakes region,” said Don Jodrey, Alliance for the Great Lakes Director of Federal Government Relations.

“As members of the Great Lakes Task Forces, many champions from both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have tirelessly advocated for the GLRI and the Alliance thanks them for their support,” said Jodrey.

“The creation of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is one of the most important actions of my legislative career.  Since I authored the program in 2010, it has been a proven success story,” said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “This bill will ensure the stability and future of the program as we address new emerging threats to our Great Lakes and waters.”

“The Great Lakes provide more than 1.5 million jobs, supply 90 percent of our nation’s fresh surface water, and generate $62 billion in wages every year,” said Congressman Joyce, Co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative supports efforts that confront direct threats facing the lakes like harmful algal blooms, water pollution, invasive species, and coastal erosion. I am proud to be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reintroduce this critical legislation to protect and preserve the national treasure that is the Great Lakes ecosystem.”

To date, the GLRI program has funded more than 7,563 individual projects totaling $3.7 billion, greatly improving the quality of life throughout the region. The GLRI also provides major economic benefits, as it is estimated that for every dollar spent, an additional three dollars of value is added to the regional economy.

### 

Contact: Don Carr, Media Director, dcarr@greatlakes.org

More about Great Lakes Restoration

Read more about Great Lakes restoration and the GLRI.

Learn More

The post Health of the Lakes and Strength of Local Economies Relies on Reauthorization of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative appeared first on Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Original Article

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News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

https://greatlakes.org/2024/02/health-of-the-lakes-and-strength-of-local-economies-relies-on-reauthorization-of-the-great-lakes-restoration-initiative/

Judy Freed

Donald Jodrey headshot.
Don Jodrey, Director of Federal Government Relations

This blog is part of a series of updates from Don Jodrey, the Alliance’s Director of Federal Government Relations, with his view on Great Lakes policy from Washington, DC.

At the beginning of 2023, we announced an ambitious Great Lakes federal policy agenda. We noted that it was the start of a new Congress and an era of divided government. We predicted that there were likely to be major policy disagreements between the Republican House, the Democratic Senate, and the Biden administration that might result in a stalemate or lack of progress on some issues, particularly where legislation is required.

We were correct in anticipating major policy disagreements, but we did not envision how dysfunctional the year would be in this Congress where a very small group of conservative House members have managed to delay action on some of Congress’ most basic tasks, including preventing the Congress from passing an annual budget for the federal government.

Major funding disagreements for water infrastructure

As we approach the year mark after we released our federal priorities last year, we note that Congress has enacted another short-term continuing resolution until early March for the fiscal year which started last October. And although the House and Senate leadership have agreed upon a top-line number for domestic spending, it is unclear when final spending levels will be resolved between the House and Senate among the 12 bills that fund the government. There are major disagreements between the House and Senate over the level of funding for water infrastructure with the House proposing more than $1.7 billion in cuts from levels supported by the Senate. This would reduce the funding available to communities to address drinking water and wastewater issues.

Farm Bill discussions continue

Another legislative casualty this year was the Farm Bill. The House and Senate were unable to advance a new five-year Farm Bill. Instead, they agreed to a one-year extension of the current program. We continue to encourage Great Lakes members to support increased funding for conservation programs, as well as provisions to ensure accountability for conservation programs that address harmful agricultural runoff pollution, particularly in Lake Erie. We are pleased that Representatives Marcy Kaptur from Ohio and Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin have introduced the Healthy Farms Healthy Watersheds Act to reduce nutrient runoff and thereby reduce harmful algal blooms. The legislation would help farmers reduce phosphorus pollution by better targeting farm bill conservation dollars where they would have the most impact.

Plastics legislation is introduced

Discussions continue in Congress on efforts to control plastic pollution. Several key pieces of legislation have been introduced in the House and Senate. First, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin reintroduced “The Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act” to address the problems posed by plastic pellets in our waters, including the Great Lakes. The bill would prohibit the discharge of plastic pellets and other pre-production plastics into the Great Lakes and waterways across the country. Plastic pellets, like other microplastics, pose a danger to human health, fish, wildlife, and ecosystems. In addition, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has reintroduced the “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act” which provides a comprehensive approach to plastic pollution reduction by creating a national policy and requirements for extended producer responsibility which would require corporations to take responsibility for post-consumer management of plastic products and packaging. Other legislative efforts include bills that would impose an excise tax on the production of virgin plastic, as well as legislation that would ban the use of polystyrene foam. It is unlikely that any of these efforts will become law in this Congress, but we will continue to support them and educate members on the harmful environmental impacts caused by plastic pollution.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative continues to receive strong bipartisan support

One program that continues to have robust bipartisan support is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The House proposes to fund this program at the current funding level and the Senate proposes a $5 million increase. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative’s goals are: fish that are safe to eat, water that is safe for recreation, a safe source of drinking water, clean up Areas of Concern, eliminate harmful algal blooms, prevent the introduction of new invasive species and control existing invasive species, and protect and restore habitat to sustain native species.

States step up to fund invasive carp protections

Following up on last year’s Congressional authorization to change the Brandon Road project’s construction cost share to 90 percent federal and 10 percent state, the Brandon Road project received funding boosts this year from the States of Illinois and Michigan. The combined $115 million will cover the entire state share of the estimated construction costs for the project. The next step is for the State of Illinois and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to sign a project partnership agreement so that construction can begin in 2024. This project is critical to keeping invasive carp out of the Great Lakes.

Environmental Protection Agency takes action

This past year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took several actions that affect the Great Lakes. First, the agency issued its 7th national Drinking Water Needs Assessment survey that assesses the health of the nation’s drinking water infrastructure. For the first time, the assessment included information on the number of lead service lines in each state. Unfortunately, Great Lakes states water infrastructure needs have increased since the last national drinking water needs assessment was completed. Collectively, EPA estimates that the Great Lakes region needs at least $225.3 billion over the next twenty years to fix failing water infrastructure.

EPA also proposed a supplemental rule to regulate ballast water in the Great Lakes. This is necessary to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species. Although EPA proposes to exempt existing Lakers (ships that do not leave the Great Lakes) from installing ballast water treatment systems, EPA does propose requiring that new Lakers, or those constructed after 2026, install ballast water treatment. We provided extensive comments to EPA recommending that all Lakers be required to install ballast water treatment systems. The agency’s final rule is expected later this year.

Lastly, EPA is updating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Strategy by developing its next action plan, which will cover the next five years of funding for this program. We have recommended that EPA address environmental justice and climate change along with its environmental restoration priorities. A draft plan will be released for public comment later this year.

Looking ahead, your voice matters

Although not all our priorities advanced this past year, your voice makes a difference. Contact federal decision-makers about the Great Lakes issues that you care about. Great Lakes members of Congress need to hear from you about prioritizing funding to ensure every community has safe drinking water. They need to hear what federal legislation or existing programs would help address environmental concerns in your community, like harmful algal blooms or reducing plastic pollution. Let your members of Congress and other federal decision-makers know how important clean and healthy Great Lakes are to you.

Protect the Great Lakes & Our Communities

Too many Great Lakers experience polluted water – whether it is lead-tainted water coming from taps in homes or algal blooms fouling beaches. Visit our Action Center and learn how you can take action.

Take Action

The post DC Update: Are Great Lakes Priorities Advancing After a Year of Divided Government? appeared first on Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Original Article

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

https://greatlakes.org/2024/01/dc-update-are-great-lakes-priorities-advancing-after-a-year-of-divided-government/

Judy Freed

Great Lakes policy advocate calls out Illinois for intransigence on invasive carp solution

The trek in the Great Lakes region’s efforts to stop the advance of invasive carp could be classified as a long, strange and seemingly never-ending trip. 

It started in the early 2000’s when advocates were successful in securing electric barriers to repel the fish. That was an interim measure and was followed by an over-the-top $18 billion plan to separate two great watersheds.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/01/great-lakes-policy-advocate-calls-out-illinois-for-intransigence-on-invasive-carp-solution/

Gary Wilson

Creating Landscapes Free of Invasive Plants Webinar; January 31st 2024 6:30 PM

Attention Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, Garden Club Members and others advising home gardeners; this webinar is for you! Representatives from UWEX and DNR will join Melinda Myers to talk about current threats, available resources and ways we can all work together to manage invasive plants. To register for the free webinar, click the button below!

Melinda Myers is the author of numerous gardening books, including The Garden Book for Wisconsin, Small Space Gardening and The Midwest Gardeners Handbook. She hosts the “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. She offers free gardening webinars on her website at www.MelindaMyers.com.

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on X! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Winnebago Waterways and Keepers of the Fox are Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance programs. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization working to protect and restore water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post Invasive Plants in Your Yard? Here’s What To Do appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2024/01/16/invasive-plants-in-your-yard-heres-what-to-do/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=invasive-plants-in-your-yard-heres-what-to-do

Chris Acy

Twenty-four animals were turned in at an exotic pet surrender event at the Ledgeview Nature Center in Calumet County on Sunday December 3rd. Included in the surrenders were a blue-tongue skink, two bearded dragons, 18 guinea pigs, a chameleon and two yellow bellied sliders!

Area organizations were on hand accepting fish, invertebrates, reptiles, pet birds, small mammals, and plants — no questions asked.

In some areas, there are no rehoming options for exotic animals such as fish, birds, and reptiles. Some pet owners that are unable to care for their pet may think that releasing the animal is the right thing to do, however, releasing a pet is harmful for the animal and the environment. Pet Surrender events are now being held across Wisconsin help provide an avenue to pet owners to rehome pets without harming the pet or the environment.

There are multiple places that are currently tackling issues from illegally released domestic and exotic animals. The most well known example are the Burmese pythons that have had an enormous impact on the Everglades in Florida. However, multiple cases of released pets causing problems in our waters occur every year including an alligator found on the shores of Lake Michigan just a few weeks ago! Released pets can easily become nuisance or invasive species if they start a breeding population.

The Pet Surrender event brought together a collection of area rehoming partners that provide responsible alternatives to release for exotic pet owners who are no longer able to care for their pets. J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue (JRAAR) hosted the December 3rd th event with help from the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant/Water Resources Institutes.

Want to learn more about the Pet Surrender Network? Visit the J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue website at www.jraar.org.

Photo Credit: J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on X! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Winnebago Waterways and Keepers of the Fox are Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance programs. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization working to protect and restore water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post 24 Exotic Pets Rehomed Following Event in Chilton appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/12/04/24-exotic-pets-rehomed-following-event-in-chilton/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=24-exotic-pets-rehomed-following-event-in-chilton

Chris Acy

Do snitches net fishes? Scientists turn invasive carp into traitors to slow their Great Lakes push

By Todd Richmond, Associated Press

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — Wildlife officials across the Great Lakes are looking for spies to take on an almost impossible mission: stop the spread of invasive carp.

Over the last five years, agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have employed a new seek-and-destroy strategy that uses turncoat carp to lead them to the fish’s hotspot hideouts.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/11/ap-do-snitches-net-fishes-scientists-turn-invasive-carp-into-traitors-to-slow-their-great-lakes-push/

The Associated Press

Note: This blog was co-written by President & CEO Joel Brammeier and Vice President of Policy and Strategic Engagement Crystal M.C. Davis.

For four days in Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie last week, many of the Great Lakes region’s leading advocates and decision-makers gathered for discussions on the future of our waters. We were privileged to be part of those gatherings at the Healing Our Waters (HOW) – Great Lakes Coalition’s annual conference, followed by the biennial Summit of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. 

Building a Path to Protect the Great Lakes 

Forums like these occasionally yield big breakthroughs. The 2015 Summit was where Ohio, Michigan and Ontario agreed to reduce nutrient pollution to Lake Erie by 40%. More often, they are a place for people like us to build consensus with our colleagues on the next major phases of our long-term work to protect the Great Lakes.  

With the HOW Conference and the Governors and Premiers Summit held back-to-back in one place, there were great opportunities to confab among the hundreds of elected officials, senior agency staff, philanthropists, and private sector and nonprofit leaders from across the region.

Crystal and other community leaders engaged in a powerful roundtable discussion hosted by the Cleveland NAACP, joined by Governor Whitmer.

Crystal was honored to join in a small roundtable discussion with Governor Whitmer led by the Cleveland NAACP, bringing her voice to elevate the Alliance’s water policy priorities. Additionally, we had the opportunity to speak directly with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine about his state’s H2Ohio water funding program, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, and other pressing water policy matters. 

Three Key Takeaways

Three things stood out to us among the countless speeches, panels, and meetings.  

First, attendees learned that to be successful at protecting the Great Lakes, we must pay attention to how they intersect with so many other needs in our communities.  

Field trip to Rid-All-Farm

The HOW coalition asked Crystal to organize the opening plenary for the conference. The audience applauded a diverse panel from the financial, health, environmental and economic development sectors that outlined the complex relationship between water policy and needs for economic, racial, and educational justice in Cleveland and communities across our region. The Alliance also organized the ‘Green N Tha Ghetto’ field trip to the renowned Rid-All Farm in Cleveland. This trip highlighted a black-owned urban farm’s groundbreaking aquaponics and thriving crops, and a farm that stands as a testament to the rich intersection of Great Lakes water, cultivation of community, and economic development. 

Second, the composition of some of the rooms is changing to better reflect all the voices of the region. Truly inclusive representation of Great Lakes communities is critical for these high-level gatherings to be worth their weight. We saw and heard many younger faces and voices that were new to us – always a positive sign. And the Great Lakes movement is catching up to the fact that leaders from Black, Indigenous, Latino and more communities of color have been pivotal in advocating for our water for many years. When organizations like HOW and the Alliance truly value and practice authentic engagement, this fosters long-lasting and sustainable relationships, paving the way for more Great Lakes success. 

Joel at Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Summit

Finally, we saw attention not just to what needs to happen but how the work gets done. The governors and premiers summit was the launch pad for a new commitment to planting 250 million trees across the Great Lakes region over the next decade. A laudable goal for sure, and one that can play a part in meeting our climate and clean water challenges. What we found most illuminating about the launch were the reflections from leaders from the Cleveland Trees Coalition and National Indian Carbon Coalition. Trees can help heal urban heat islands in Cleveland or support wild rice habitat on tribal lands in Minnesota. Tree planting is good, but it can become great when it starts with and is sustained by community leadership to address community-identified needs. 

The Power of Great Lakes Gathering

Joel chatting with other Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Summit attendees.

The power of these gatherings hit home for Joel on Saturday at the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers luncheon. A video testimonial from the two surviving founders of the organization, former Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard and former Ohio Governor Dick Celeste, described the economic conditions of the Great Lakes region in the early 1980s – severe recession, high unemployment, and deep uncertainty facing residents and leaders across the lakes. The governors chose this moment to convene for the first time to build on one asset that was recession-proof: our shared freshwater foundations. Their choice to come together in a time of uncertainty so many decades ago reminds us that protecting the Great Lakes takes time and that choices we make today can have incredible staying power.  

We are proud to be part of bringing a greater diversity of voices to these critical Great Lakes conversations than ever before, ensuring the next generation of Great Lakes protection meets the needs of everyone who relies on the lakes every day.  

Protect the Great Lakes & Our Communities

Too many Great Lakers experience polluted water – whether it is lead-tainted water coming from taps in homes or algal blooms fouling beaches. Visit our Action Center and learn how you can take action.

Take Action

The post Charting the Future of the Great Lakes: Insights from the HOW Conference and Governors’ Summit  appeared first on Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Original Article

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News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

https://greatlakes.org/2023/11/charting-the-future-of-the-great-lakes-insights-from-the-how-conference-and-governors-summit/

Michelle Farley

Science Says What? How eDNA research is evolving to create a new era in conservation

Science Says What? is a monthly column written by Great Lakes now contributor Sharon Oosthoek exploring what science can tell us about what’s happening beneath and above the waves of our beloved Great Lakes and their watershed.

Thirteen years ago, a live bighead carp was caught within swimming distance of Lake Michigan.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/10/science-says-what-how-edna-research-is-evolving-to-create-a-new-era-in-conservation/

Sharon Oosthoek

Take 5 Minutes Each Hunt for Invasive Species Prevention

Original Story: WDNR

Invasive species are nonnative plants, animals and diseases that cause great ecological, environmental or economic harm. Some have already been found in Wisconsin, while others pose a large risk of surviving and causing problems if they are introduced and become established here.

Just a few minutes of preventative action can help preserve and protect hunting lands for generations to come.

Before launching into and leaving a waterbody, waterfowl hunters should:

– Inspect waders, boats, trailers, motors and hunting equipment, including boots, blinds and dogs

– Remove all plants, animals and mud to the best of their ability

– Drain all water from decoys, boats, motors, livewells and other hunting equipment

– Remove all seed heads and roots when using vegetation for duck blinds

– Never move plants or live animals, such as snails, away from a water body

Lots of hunting spots have boot brush stations to help you clean off your gear (see picture). Want to have one installed at your favorite hunting spot? Contact Chris using the info below!


Learn more at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Invasives and thank you for helping keep invasives out of our waterways!

Photo Credit: WDNR

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on X! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Winnebago Waterways and Keepers of the Fox are Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance programs. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization working to protect and restore water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

 

The post Waterfowl Hunting? Protect Those Places appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/10/18/waterfowl-hunting-protect-those-places/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=waterfowl-hunting-protect-those-places

Chris Acy

For our Diving Deep for Solutions series, we commissioned author and journalist Kari Lydersen to examine big issues facing the lakes today and how our expert team at the Alliance for the Great Lakes is growing to meet the moment.


In 2014, harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie contaminated Toledo’s water system, leaving residents without clean drinking water and leaders scrambling to deal with the public health emergency. It was a symbol of the greatest water pollution threat facing big swathes of the Great Lakes region, even after hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on mitigation efforts sparked by the Lake Erie crisis.   

A hand covered with algae from the 2014 western Lake Erie algal bloom.

Agriculture is one of the major industries and employers in the Great Lakes basin, producing more than $15 billion in livestock and crops per year. But with current farming methods, the ecosystem can’t handle the massive amounts of runoff from fertilizer –  manure and chemical – which pollutes waterways with phosphorus and nitrogen that feed algae blooms. These algal blooms can become toxic – which we have observed in Lake Erie – and can also create “dead zones” by robbing water of oxygen when algae decays. 

The problem will only get worse with climate change, which is expected to cause more severe rains and warmer temperatures, meaning more runoff and conditions even more conducive to algal blooms. Meanwhile climate change is also expected to increase the intensity of agriculture in the region, as the growing season gets longer and new crops can be grown further north than before. Pesticide and herbicide use is also expected to increase due to shifting pest pressures linked to climate change. Increased usage of these products may lead to additional surface and groundwater pollution.    

Hence, there is no time to waste in addressing the crisis of agricultural pollution in the Great Lakes. The Alliance for the Great Lakes has long been a leader on this issue, including in pushing for the agreement between Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada to reduce phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie by 40% by 2025. 

Voluntary measures fail to create significant progress; more aggressive and holistic approach is needed for Lake Erie

It is clear that ambitious target won’t be met, and the Alliance and others are demanding more aggressive policy and a more holistic approach to the crisis. 

Tom Zimnicki, Alliance Agriculture and Restoration Policy Director, noted that the agencies involved in the Lake Erie agreement “would be hard-pressed to identify any kind of quantifiable reductions that have been made from agricultural sources” in phosphorus pollution, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent, mostly to pay farmers to voluntarily implement practices meant to curb runoff, like foregoing tilling, planting grass near waterways, and planting cover crops.  

“We haven’t really seen voluntary programs work anywhere,” said Sara Walling, Clean Wisconsin’s Water and Agriculture Program Director, formerly the Alliance’s Senior Policy Manager for Agriculture and Restoration. “That’s not specific to the Great Lakes, it’s a fallacy everywhere. We’re just throwing money at the problem without accountability to make sure practices are implemented correctly, that they actually function as intended to, and are maintained over time.” 

The failure to make significant progress through voluntary measures and incentives  underscores the need for federal action on agricultural pollution. This includes regulating farm runoff as a point source of pollution – in the same way releases from factories or power plants are regulated. 

“Every other industry has standards around pollution prevention and risk mitigation for impacts to human health,” said Zimnicki. “Agriculture shouldn’t be any different. There are nuances to agriculture that make it more complicated than just saying, ‘Here is this manufacturing facility, let’s control what is coming out of that pipe.’ But there are things we can be looking at.” 

In 2019, Ohio adopted a program known as “H2Ohio” to reduce nutrient pollution and address other water quality issues. Alliance Vice President of Policy and Strategic Engagement Crystal Davis was part of the technical assistance program for the effort. Davis – who is based in Cleveland – noted that there are multiple measures that could be adopted to quantify phosphorus in waterways, rather than just hoping best practices will reduce pollution. 

“There’s edge-of-field monitoring, smart buoys in the water that can tell you how much pollution is in our waterways, we have a myriad of options,” she said.  

Following a federal lawsuit, Ohio was required to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus – or “a pollution diet” as Zimnicki put it – for the Maumee River, a major tributary of Lake Erie. In September, U.S. EPA approved Ohio’s TMDL, however the plan lacks important conditions needed to improve water quality goals.

Environmental injustice: Downstream water users pay the price for pollution generated upstream

Not only does agricultural pollution pose a major economic and ecological threat to the region, it also can lead to environmental injustices. In the case of the Western Basin of Lake Erie, downstream ratepayers in Toledo bear the brunt of the health and financial impacts of agricultural pollution despite most of that pollution being generated upstream. The financial impacts of pollution exacerbate an ongoing water affordability crisis for lower-income residents of the City.  

How much extra does a family of 5 in Toledo pay in their water bills due to upstream pollution? Almost $100 extra!

As the Alliance documented in Ohio, low-income customers struggle to pay a disproportionate amount of their income for water, and are especially burdened when pollution necessitates more infrastructure investments – that are billed to customers, or when they need to buy bottled water because the tap water isn’t safe. 

“We don’t have adequate representation from impacted and downstream communities,” noted Davis. “Equitable stakeholder engagement is paramount to the development of a strong plan that holds polluters accountable while making significant progress on phosphorus reduction goals,” Davis said.  

A recent study by the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Ohio Environmental Council found that to achieve Lake Erie water quality targets, Michigan would need to increase funding by $40 to $65 million a year and Ohio by $170 to $250 million per year, on top of current spending. Such funding should also be secured long-term, rather than subject to approval in every budget cycle, the report emphasized.  

Federal laws offer opportunities to regulate runoff

The Farm Bill and federal pollution laws like the Clean Water Act offer opportunities to regulate agricultural runoff. Some farmers are encouraged to use riskier and more polluting practices since crop insurance covers their losses. Mandates and incentives for runoff reduction could be built into crop insurance, Alliance experts note. Walling said that’s especially appropriate since the government pays for federal crop insurance costs. 

Farm field next to Maumee River, photo by Lloyd DeGrane

“We as the public should be expecting more payback, if you will,” she said. “Not in actual dollars but in more environmental responsibility from the recipients. That’s not happening now.” 

The federal government has the biggest role to play in restructuring things like crop insurance, farm subsidies and pollution-related mandates. Especially given the political and economic significance of farming in the Great Lakes states, the states “do need the federal government to come in with a heavier hand and give them a ‘thou shall’ rather than a ‘please,’” said Zimnicki. 

The Alliance emphasizes that it is in farmers’ best interest to curb agricultural pollution and protect the Great Lakes, as well as their own bottom lines. And along with mandates, government support is crucial.  

“Most farmers do want to leave the land in better shape than the day they took it over,” said Walling. “But there isn’t as much technical support available to help them. Even if something like planting cover crops is shown to benefit their long-term profitability, there’s a cost to making that change: buying that cover crop seed, planting it, changes in their yields as they work out the kinks. Their profit margins are so small, they can’t internalize those costs.” 

Farmers and community leaders push change for Green Bay

Green Bay in Wisconsin has also faced severe nutrient pollution from farming and algal blooms that harm the tourism and sport-fishing that is so popular in the region, including Wisconsin’s beloved Door County. 

Cows grazing in a field. Photo credit Lloyd Degrade.

“The entire economy is built around tourism, and access to the lake is the central piece,” said Walling. “Not having solid water quality is going to continue to affect the economic engine.” 

In the Fox River basin that feeds Green Bay, many farmers and community leaders have joined the effort to reduce runoff through voluntary measures and educating their peers. Farmers using sustainable practices invite colleagues to tour their farms and learn. 

“We’ve seen a lot of good buy-in,” said Walling. “They’re going above and beyond in their conservation, and also being that mouthpiece, inviting other agricultural producers onto their farms, to share information to try to generate more comfort across the agricultural community.” 

How to make our region a leader in agricultural practices that protect clean water

Ultimately, farming in the Great Lakes isn’t going anywhere, so the way we farm has to change for the lakes and people to stay healthy. This issue won’t be solved by cracking down on a few bad actors, but by making the Great Lakes a leader in agriculture that actually protects clean water. 

As Walling, Zimnicki and other Alliance leaders noted, concrete steps to achieving this goal include: 

  • Requiring that funding for agricultural best-management practices to reduce phosphorus is tied to reducing phosphorus entering waterways. This means farmers aren’t just paid to adopt certain practices, but instead paid for actually reducing phosphorus runoff. 
  • Instituting a robust network for water quality monitoring in Lake Erie’s Western Basin. 
  • Utilizing the Farm Bill to fully fund conservation programs and provide technical assistance for farmers.  
  • Securing stable streams of state funding for conservation and enforcement and ensuring state-level permits, particularly those for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), provide more rigorous standards for waste management – especially in already impaired watersheds.  

These actions and more will be the focus of the Alliance’s federal and state advocacy agendas to reduce agricultural pollution over the next five years.  

“The private agriculture sector needs to step up and demonstrate that it is able to operate without polluting our drinking water, just as other industries are required to do,” said Brammeier. “ 

“Ultimately, companies in the agricultural supply and distribution chain need to acknowledge that clean water is a critical measure of whether they are operating sustainably. The health of the Great Lakes can’t be an afterthought.”  

  

Give a Gift – Protect the Great Lakes

Your gift will protect our region’s most precious resource: the fresh, clean, and natural waters of the Great Lakes.

Donate Today

The post Complicated Crops: Agriculture is a major economic engine in the Great Lakes, and poses the greatest threat to their waters appeared first on Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Original Article

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

https://greatlakes.org/2023/10/complicated-crops-agriculture-is-a-major-economic-engine-in-the-great-lakes-and-poses-the-greatest-threat-to-their-waters/

Judy Freed

Original Story: Water Action Volunteers

On August 19th, 2023, water lovers of all ages gathered for a one-day statewide aquatic invasive species (AIS) scavenger hunt as a part of the 10th annual AIS Snapshot Day. This event is coordinated by UW Extension in partnership with River Alliance, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and Extension Lakes. Volunteers met at different local rendezvous sites across the state to learn how to identify AIS such as Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and New Zealand mudsnails, and then searched for them in the field at pre-selected locations.  Initially focused on rivers and streams, Snapshot Day has expanded to include lakes and wetlands. Findings from Snapshot Day are uploaded to the statewide water quality database, SWIMS, where they can be used to track the spread of invasive species and develop management plans.

Every year, Snapshot Day provides a vast amount of AIS data to the WDNR to assist in management decisions, and this year was no exception! 145 participants gathered across 22 meeting locations and monitored 131 sites across 102 different waterbodies in Wisconsin. 48 of those waterbodies had no AIS detected. At 83 sites, volunteers located 15 different AIS species, including purple loosestrife, curly-leaf pondweed, Asian clams/freshwater golden clams (Corbicula), and faucet snails.

Snapshot Day’s community-based science approach maximizes the number of sites being checked across the state, and the free event allows volunteers to learn about their local waters and how to keep them healthy. As one volunteer stated, “I enjoyed the hands on learning approach. It was helpful to have well informed guides and samples of the invasive species to get a close look at. Once we had a good understanding of what to look for, it was fun to go out and collect samples of what we were finding.”

We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers, partner organizations, and site leaders who made this event possible.

And don’t forget to follow Snapshot Day on Facebook for future updates! https://www.facebook.com/aissnapshotday

Photo Credit: Chris Acy (Fox-Wolf), Emily Heald (Water Action Volunteers)

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on X! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Winnebago Waterways and Keepers of the Fox are Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance programs. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization working to protect and restore water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post AIS Snapshot Day 2023; 115 volunteers Search 102 Different Waterbodies appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/09/25/ais-snapshot-day-2023-115-volunteers-search-102-different-waterbodies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ais-snapshot-day-2023-115-volunteers-search-102-different-waterbodies

Chris Acy

Original Story: J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue

Eight animals were turned in at an exotic pet surrender event at the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve in Brown County on Sunday September 24th. Included in the surrenders were fish and two yellow bellied sliders!

Area organizations were on hand accepting fish, invertebrates, reptiles, pet birds, small mammals, and plants — no questions asked.

In some areas, there are no rehoming options for exotic animals such as fish, birds, and reptiles. Some pet owners that are unable to care for their pet may think that releasing the animal is the right thing to do, however, releasing a pet is harmful for the animal and the environment. Pet Surrender events are now being held across Wisconsin help provide an avenue to pet owners to rehome pets without harming the pet or the environment.

There are multiple places that are currently tackling issues from illegally released domestic and exotic animals. The most well known example are the Burmese pythons that have had an enormous impact on the Everglades in Florida. However, multiple cases of released pets causing problems in our waters occur every year including an alligator found in Long Lake in Summer 2022! Released pets can easily become nuisance or invasive species if they start a breeding population.

The Pet Surrender event brought together a collection of area rehoming partners that provide responsible alternatives to release for exotic pet owners who are no longer able to care for their pets. J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue (JRAAR) hosted the October 30th event with help from several other area organizations including Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant/Water Resources Institutes.

Want to learn more about the Pet Surrender Network? Visit the J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue website at www.jraar.org.

Photo Credit: Chris Acy (Fox-Wolf), Marissa Kososki (J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue)

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on X! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Winnebago Waterways and Keepers of the Fox are Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance programs. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization working to protect and restore water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post Pet Rehoming Event in Green Bay Sees Eight Exotic Pets appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/09/25/pet-rehoming-event-in-green-bay-sees-eight-exotic-pets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pet-rehoming-event-in-green-bay-sees-eight-exotic-pets

Chris Acy

Points North: Dirty Laundry, Invasive Species, and the Limitations of Knowledge

Points North is a biweekly podcast hosted by Daniel Wanschura and Morgan Springer about the land, water and inhabitants of the Upper Great Lakes.

This episode was shared here with permission from Interlochen Public Radio. 

It was 2016 and Samantha Tank was digging around in Michigan’s Pere Marquette River.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/09/points-north-dirty-laundry-invasive-species-and-the-limitations-of-knowledge/

Interlochen Public Radio

For our Diving Deep for Solutions series, we commissioned author and journalist Kari Lydersen to examine big issues facing the lakes today and how our expert team at the Alliance for the Great Lakes is growing to meet the moment.


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” notes Alliance for the Great Lakes Vice President for Policy Molly Flanagan.   

The old adage is often cited in regards to invasive species, and a good example is the $1 billion-plus of federal and state dollars proposed to keep invasive carp from advancing into Lake Michigan – “even if it costs a lot,” Flanagan continued. 

“You’re talking about fishing industries worth $7 billion a year, recreational boating worth $16 billion a year, and you’re protecting a lot of different economies that equal much more than that,” Flanagan continued. 

Years of advocacy advance efforts to block invasive carp

Thanks to years of advocacy by the Alliance and our partners, the federal government has upped the portion it is willing to pay for constructing barriers to block the voracious invasive carp, at Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River southwest of Chicago.   

Design of the Brandon Road Interbasin Project as of May 31, 2023. Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Last year through the Water Resources Development Act, the federal government agreed to pick up 90% of a tab estimated at $1.5 billion, if states will pay the rest. Previously, the federal government had planned to pay 65%. 

The new plan means Great Lakes states must pay about $115 million total. This year Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed $64 million in the state budget, and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed $50 million. Both budgets passed state legislatures.  

To move the deal forward, the state of Illinois still needs to sign an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

“We’ve been putting forth a simple message: Illinois needs to sign the agreement,” said Flanagan. “Any delay risks delaying the project. We can’t afford that because we’re in a race against the clock to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes.” 

Advocates race against the clock to defend fishing , recreational boating

Invasive carp jump into the air. Photo by U.S. Geological Survey.

The planned barrier includes a bubble curtain, electric barrier, acoustic deterrents and a flushing lock. Pre-construction work is underway thanks to close to $10 million already committed by Illinois and Michigan. 

“It’s a really positive development in terms of Michigan and Illinois working together,” Flanagan said. “All the states are coming to the table to talk about the carp issue and try to problem-solve. They haven’t all committed money, but it’s another good example of how our region collaborates.”

Ironically, the crystal-clear water that many appreciate in Lake Michigan is the result of previous invaders that colonized the lakes – zebra mussels and quagga mussels. 

“They’re filtering out the bottom of the food web, with dramatic impacts,” said Flanagan. “The water is so clear but that’s not necessarily a good thing – there’s [almost] nothing left in the water for other fish to eat. If invasive carp get in, they’ll also feed on the base of the food web.” That would be especially damaging to plankton-rich places like western Lake Erie and Green Bay. 

And that’s not to mention another likely impact of one of several threatening species of invasive carp – the “flying” silver carp, as Flanagan said, known for jumping violently out of the water when agitated by boat engines. 

This behavior makes infested rivers too risky for boaters. “That would hammer the recreational economy in the region. Who wants to boat on the Chicago or Kalamazoo River if carps are flying at you?” 

Ballast water regulations are crucial for both “lakers” and ocean ships

An ocean ship enters the Great Lakes from the St. Lawrence Seaway.

While invasive carp are advancing from the Mississippi River, where they’ve devastated the ecosystem and recreation, more invasives have historically come via ships plying the St. Lawrence Seaway. 

Ocean ships take in ballast in freshwater and brackish ports around the globe, including live organisms, and empty it when they’ve reached destinations and need to take on cargo in the Great Lakes. For years advocates from around the country, including the Alliance, have demanded stricter regulations on ballast water. While ocean ships now have to install treatment technology, unfortunately, EPA’s latest draft rules missed the mark.  

“Ship-borne invasive species cost the Great Lakes Region alone at least $200 million dollars every year,” says a 2020 comment on the proposed EPA rules by the Alliance and other organizations. “This is a dire problem that must be solved.” 

But “lakers” – ships that stay within the Great Lakes – are exempt from the draft rules, even though they also transport ballast and organisms in it between the lakes as they carry ore, salt and other commodities. Hence the EPA should include lakers in its ballast water rule just as Canada has, and finalize the rule, the Alliance says. 

“We need to keep pressure on the EPA to regulate lakers,” Flanagan said. “This is critical to protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species.” 

Meanwhile the rules are not as strict as advocates have demanded, since they don’t require best available treatment technology for ballast, like advanced ultraviolet radiation systems, and they don’t prohibit ships taking on ballast in areas that are polluted by algae or sewage. 

Winning new protections while acknowledging a legacy of damage

Quagga mussels

Alliance President & CEO Joel Brammeier called the battle against invasives a “mature” struggle –  one where the Alliance and other advocates are winning substantial new protections but where the Great Lakes have suffered permanent damage that can never be reversed.  

Few invasive species have been introduced in recent years, thanks to prevention protocols and spending urged by the Alliance and other players. But continued vigilance is needed to deal with the nearly 200 harmful invasive species already in the Great Lakes, and the threat of new ones like invasive carp.   

“We need to continually invest in prevention and control and never let that slide,” Brammeier said. “Our lakes have suffered enough, and I believe people across the region understand the importance of not going backward.” 

Meanwhile the debate on ballast speaks to larger changes in economic priorities for the Great Lakes. Great Lakes shipping is still a booming industry credited for generating $35 billion in economic activity a year, while Great Lakes residents, cities and states are increasingly prioritizing the recreational and ecological value of the lakes. 

“Our region missed the boat by letting invasive species in the lakes in the first place. That’s a tough lesson,” Brammeier said. “But it compels us to ask tough questions about every industry that wants to use the lakes. And everyone is going to have to demonstrate it can do so sustainably, because Great Lakers understand the risks better than most.”   

Give a Gift – Protect the Great Lakes

Your gift will protect our region’s most precious resource: the fresh, clean, and natural waters of the Great Lakes.

Donate Today

The post An Ounce of Prevention: Keeping New Invasive Species Out of the Great Lakes appeared first on Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Original Article

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

https://greatlakes.org/2023/08/an-ounce-of-prevention-keeping-new-invasive-species-out-of-the-great-lakes/

Judy Freed

Control for Frog-bit and Water Soldiers

By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/08/control-frog-bit-water-soldiers/

Circle of Blue

Wisconsin residents invited to help search Wisconsin’s waters for invasive species on August 19th

Water lovers of all ages are invited to join the statewide search for aquatic invasive species (AIS) on August 19th, 2023. This fun, hands-on effort, known as AIS Snapshot Day, relies on participants to monitor streams, lakes, and wetlands at designated sites across the state, for signs of non-native plants and animals that pose risks to Wisconsin waterways and wildlife.  Volunteers have a choice to register at one of over twenty event locations hosted by local conservation groups.

Coordinated in partnership by UW-Madison Division of Extension, UW-Stevens Point Extension Lakes, River Alliance of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Snapshot Day is entering its’ 10th successful year. Information collected will be provided to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to inform and guide monitoring and response efforts. Volunteers are key to the success of the event.

“Projects like AIS Snapshot Day are a fun and simple way for volunteers to get engaged and for the local site leaders and DNR to collaborate” says Maureen Ferry, DNR AIS Monitoring Coordinator. “DNR has a long list of sites with suspected but unverified AIS that AIS Snapshot Day monitoring targets. This increases the chances of volunteers finding a species. Plus, each year, we make new detections.”

Last year over 150 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to monitor at more than 234 sites across the state making for a fun and safe event.

This is a free event. Recommended for ages 8 and up, minors must be accompanied by an adult.

LOCAL EVENT DETAILS:

Saturday, August 19th

8:30 am-12:30 pm

Pamperin Park, Green Bay

REGISTRATION:

Register and see all event details at: https://wateractionvolunteers.org/events/

Advance registration is requested to help Site Leaders build monitoring plans.

Photo Credit: Chris Acy (FWWA)

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post *CLICK* Snapshot Day Returns August 19th, 2023 appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/07/19/click-snapshot-day-returns-august-19th-2023/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=click-snapshot-day-returns-august-19th-2023

Chris Acy

Wisconsin residents invited to help search Wisconsin’s waters for invasive species on August 19th

Water lovers of all ages are invited to join the statewide search for aquatic invasive species (AIS) on August 19th, 2023. This fun, hands-on effort, known as AIS Snapshot Day, relies on participants to monitor streams, lakes, and wetlands at designated sites across the state, for signs of non-native plants and animals that pose risks to Wisconsin waterways and wildlife.  Volunteers have a choice to register at one of over twenty event locations hosted by local conservation groups.

Coordinated in partnership by UW-Madison Division of Extension, UW-Stevens Point Extension Lakes, River Alliance of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Snapshot Day is entering its’ 10th successful year. Information collected will be provided to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to inform and guide monitoring and response efforts. Volunteers are key to the success of the event.

“Projects like AIS Snapshot Day are a fun and simple way for volunteers to get engaged and for the local site leaders and DNR to collaborate” says Maureen Ferry, DNR AIS Monitoring Coordinator. “DNR has a long list of sites with suspected but unverified AIS that AIS Snapshot Day monitoring targets. This increases the chances of volunteers finding a species. Plus, each year, we make new detections.”

Last year over 150 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to monitor at more than 234 sites across the state making for a fun and safe event.

This is a free event. Recommended for ages 8 and up, minors must be accompanied by an adult.

LOCAL EVENT DETAILS:

Saturday, August 19th

8:30 am-12:30 pm

Pamperin Park, Green Bay

REGISTRATION:

Register and see all event details at: https://wateractionvolunteers.org/events/

Advance registration is requested to help Site Leaders build monitoring plans.

Photo Credit: Chris Acy (FWWA)

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post *CLICK* Snapshot Day Returns August 19th, 2023 appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/07/19/click-snapshot-day-returns-august-19th-2023/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=click-snapshot-day-returns-august-19th-2023

Chris Acy

Wisconsin residents invited to help search Wisconsin’s waters for invasive species on August 19th

Water lovers of all ages are invited to join the statewide search for aquatic invasive species (AIS) on August 19th, 2023. This fun, hands-on effort, known as AIS Snapshot Day, relies on participants to monitor streams, lakes, and wetlands at designated sites across the state, for signs of non-native plants and animals that pose risks to Wisconsin waterways and wildlife.  Volunteers have a choice to register at one of over twenty event locations hosted by local conservation groups.

Coordinated in partnership by UW-Madison Division of Extension, UW-Stevens Point Extension Lakes, River Alliance of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Snapshot Day is entering its’ 10th successful year. Information collected will be provided to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to inform and guide monitoring and response efforts. Volunteers are key to the success of the event.

“Projects like AIS Snapshot Day are a fun and simple way for volunteers to get engaged and for the local site leaders and DNR to collaborate” says Maureen Ferry, DNR AIS Monitoring Coordinator. “DNR has a long list of sites with suspected but unverified AIS that AIS Snapshot Day monitoring targets. This increases the chances of volunteers finding a species. Plus, each year, we make new detections.”

Last year over 150 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to monitor at more than 234 sites across the state making for a fun and safe event.

This is a free event. Recommended for ages 8 and up, minors must be accompanied by an adult.

LOCAL EVENT DETAILS:

Saturday, August 19th

8:30 am-12:30 pm

Pamperin Park, Green Bay

REGISTRATION:

Register and see all event details at: https://wateractionvolunteers.org/events/

Advance registration is requested to help Site Leaders build monitoring plans.

Photo Credit: Chris Acy (FWWA)

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post *CLICK* Snapshot Day Returns August 19th, 2023 appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/07/19/click-snapshot-day-returns-august-19th-2023/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=click-snapshot-day-returns-august-19th-2023

Chris Acy

Nearly $1.2 billion spent at one site to deter invasive carp from Great Lakes; other entry sites still possible

By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/07/1-2-billion-spent-one-site-deter-invasive-carp-great-lakes-other-entry-sites-possible/

Circle of Blue

Gardener Extraordinaire Melinda Myers Gives Insight into Japanese Knotweed

During last month’s National Rivers Month, Melinda Myers took a moment to highlight the over 3.5 million miles of rivers and streams in the United States. In addition to outlining the amazing things our waters do for us (including supplying water for drinking and for irrigating crops), Melinda brought attention to a riverside invasive species; Japanese knotweed. This plant was original brought to America as an ornamental but quickly spread through much of the United States. With bamboo-like stems, this invasive plant is known to choke waterways and hasten erosion. If you are one of the folks who has Japanese knotweed growing along your shorelines, there are great control options available.

To learn more, including control methods, check out this Japanese Knotweed brochure: https://widnr.widen.net/s/jzxjqrs867/wy0090?fbclid=IwAR2q36KUKGAJ4NJfAZ7N8S6MOeOgx-NPEV1T-LD3lzp6nMdXFvRWum-ssKQ

Photo Credit: Paul Skawinski, Melinda Myers

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post Japanese Knotweed and our Rivers appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/07/10/japanese-knotweed-and-our-rivers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=japanese-knotweed-and-our-rivers

Chris Acy

Watch out! Creepy kudzu coming?

This article was republished here with permission from Great Lakes Echo.

By Eric Freedman,  Great Lakes Echo

Picture decrepit plantations enveloped in aggressively spreading kudzu. Picture the remnants of abandoned outbuildings invisible under kudzu’s woody vines. Picture forests smothered and trees killed by blankets of kudzu.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/06/watch-out-creepy-kudzu-coming/

Great Lakes Echo

Inside the Michigan lab where scientists raise killer bugs to save trees

By Ashley Zhou Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/06/inside-michigan-lab-scientists-raise-killer-bugs-save-trees/

Bridge Michigan

Illinois, feds grapple with agreement that would advance billion dollar plan to stop invasive carp

The first efforts to stop the advance of invasive carp to the Great Lakes began in the early 2000s when electrical barriers in the Chicago Area Waterway System leading to Lake Michigan were thought to be a deterrent.

The fear was that if the voracious carp entered the lake, they could expand their range, wipe out the food supply and eventually devastate the multi-billion dollar Great Lakes fishery.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/06/illinois-feds-grapple-agreement-advance-billion-dollar-plan-stop-invasive-carp/

Gary Wilson

More fallout from Midland dam failures: blood-sucking parasites in rivers

By Ashley Zhou, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/05/more-fallout-from-midland-dam-failures-blood-sucking-parasites-in-rivers/

Bridge Michigan

Ensuring Your Water Garden Doesn’t Harbor Invasive Plants

As you’re choosing your plants for your water gardens and backyards this spring, be sure you aren’t accidentally growing an invasive plant that could do harm to our lakes and rivers! But don’t take our word for it! Here’s some tips from Melinda Myers, nationally known gardening educator, horticulturist, arborist, author, speaker, and TV/radio host with more than 30 years of horticulture experience!

Questions? Comments? Contact Chris Acy, the AIS Coordinator covering Brown, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties at (920) 460-3674 or chris@fwwa.org!

Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.

Winnebago Waterways is a Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance program. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that identifies and advocates effective policies and actions that protect, restore, and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.

Check out the Keepers of the Fox Program at https://fwwa.org/watershed-recovery/lower-fox-recovery/

Reporting invasive species is a first step in containing their spread. Maintaining and restoring our waters and landscapes can reduce the impacts even when we don’t have other management options to an invasive species.

The post What’s That Plant? Know What’s In Your Water Garden appeared first on Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.

Original Article

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance

https://fwwa.org/2023/05/11/whats-that-plant-know-whats-in-your-water-garden/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=whats-that-plant-know-whats-in-your-water-garden

Chris Acy

2023 federal policy priorities.

Significant progress has been made in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. But much more needs to be done. Too many Great Lakers experience polluted water, whether it is lead-tainted water coming from taps in homes or algal blooms fouling beaches. Invasive species threaten the lakes, and plastic pollutes our beaches and drinking water.  

In our 2023 federal policy priorities, we’ve identified the top five opportunities for Congress and federal agencies to address these challenges. Many of these priorities are familiar. Congress and the administration must keep up the momentum generated over the past few years to fix our water infrastructure, stop invasive species, and support on-the-ground restoration projects.  

Equity and justice are embedded throughout these policy priorities. Equity and justice must be considered at every step of the federal decision-making process to ensure that all Great Lakers have access to safe, clean, affordable water. Federal water programs must prioritize low-income communities and communities of color, where the burden of pollution often hits hardest. Repairing the long-term harm from environmental injustices isn’t a one-off action. Instead, Congress and the administration must ensure that community voices are at the table, and listened to, from the beginning of all decision-making.  

This year, we have two new priority areas focused on opportunities we’ve identified for the federal government to push forward new approaches to long-standing problems. First is the Farm Bill, which only happens every five years and sets national agriculture and food policy. We see an opportunity to improve federal agriculture subsidy programs to make sure farmers produce clean water, not pollution, along with their crops. Second, concern about plastic pollution continues to grow, and Congress can act to limit plastic pollution by reducing it at the source and not once it is a problem on our beaches and in our communities.  

Read on for full details of our 2023 Great Lakes federal policy priorities, or download the fact sheet to learn more.

Water infrastructure.

Increase water infrastructure funding, prioritize funding for communities most in need 

The infrastructure bill passed by Congress late in 2021 was an important down payment to fix the nation’s failing and outdated water infrastructure. The funding will jump-start efforts to replace dangerous lead pipes, fix leaky pipes, and stop sewage overflows.  

However, the funding is only a start. It’s estimated that the Great Lakes region will need at least $188 billion over the next twenty years to fix our water infrastructure problems. Currently, the infrastructure bill will provide Great Lakes states with an additional $1.8 billion per year for the next five years. It is clearly not enough. We need to keep the pressure on Congress to provide additional funds for water infrastructure programs. Additionally, funding programs must be structured to ensure that money reaches communities with the highest need, such as those with many lead pipes. 

In 2023, we urge Congress to: 

  • Increase annual funding to at least $8 billion for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds  
  • Increase by $1 billion annual funding levels for lead service line replacement and emerging contaminants  
  • Pass a federal ban on water shutoffs 
  • Establish a federal program to provide financial assistance for water and sewer bills 

In 2023 we urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to: 

  • Work with states to ensure equitable distribution of infrastructure funding and provide technical assistance to disadvantaged and underserved communities  
  • Complete the Drinking Water Needs Assessment in early 2023 to increase the amount of lead service line funding to Great Lakes states which have the highest number of lead pipes in the country

Download the water infrastructure fact sheet.

Agriculture.

Pass a Farm Bill that prioritizes clean water 

Agriculture is the largest unaddressed source of nonpoint pollution in the Great Lakes region. Runoff from agricultural lands puts the Great Lakes at risk. It pollutes drinking water, threatens wildlife, harms the regional economy, and prevents people from enjoying recreation on the Great Lakes. 

Every five years, Congress develops a “farm bill,” a major package of legislation that sets the agenda and funding for national farm and food policy. In 2023, Congress can pass a Farm Bill that ensures farms produce clean water, not pollution, along with their crops.  

In 2023, we urge Congress to pass a Farm Bill that: 

  • Increases funding for US Department of Agriculture conservation programs  
  • Includes provisions to ensure accountability for farm conservation programs aimed at stopping runoff pollution from agricultural lands
  • Reduces funding for concentrated animal feeding operations 
Plastic pollution.

Pass legislation to stop plastic pollution  

Researchers estimate that 22 million pounds of plastic pollution enter the Great Lakes each year. Plastic pollution isn’t just an unsightly problem in our waterways. It’s estimated that humans ingest a credit card-sized amount of plastic each week, with unknown long-term consequences for our health. 

For many years, efforts to stop plastic pollution put the responsibility on the end-user, such as recycling. But only a fraction of plastic produced each year is recycled, leaving the remainder to end up in landfills or as litter that lands in our waterways. The alternative is to require plastic producers to be responsible for their products through their lifecycle, which is called extended producer responsibility. Congress has an opportunity to be a leader on this issue.  

In 2023, we urge Congress to pass legislation that: 

  • Makes plastic waste producers responsible for its reduction 
  • Reduces the federal government’s use of single-use plastics 
  • Funds additional research on the public health impact of plastics

Download the plastic pollution fact sheet.

Invasive species.

Protect the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species  

Invasive species have caused irreparable harm to the Great Lakes ecosystem and cost the region billions of dollars since the late 1980s. Preventing them from ever entering is the best way to protect the Great Lakes. The battle against invasive species is focused on two fronts – stopping invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes and cleaning up ship ballast tanks.  

Established populations of invasive carp are only 50 miles from Chicago and Lake Michigan. But it’s not too late to prevent them from reaching the lakes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed constructing additional carp prevention measures at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The facility is a critical choke point in the waterways leading to Lake Michigan. Congress and federal agencies must continue to support this project.  

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened the Great Lakes to direct ocean-going shipping. Unfortunately, ships brought invasive species along for the ride in their ballast tanks. Although regulations to clean up ship ballast tanks have reduced introductions, loopholes remain for “lakers,” ships operating solely in the Great Lakes. The US EPA can close that loophole. 

In 2023, we urge Congress to: 

  • Fund the next phases of construction of the Brandon Road project to stop invasive carp 

In 2023, we urge federal agencies to take the following actions: 

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should continue implementing the Brandon Road project with public participation and work with the state of Illinois to finalize the project partnership agreement. 
  • The U.S. EPA should issue rules requiring all vessels operating on the Great Lakes, including lakers, to clean up their ballast tanks.

Download the invasive species fact sheet.

Great Lakes restoration.

Update and fund Great Lakes restoration programs 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is one of the most important tools in the region’s toolbox to protect and restore the lakes. The program provides funding for on-the-ground restoration projects, from wetland restoration to cleaning up toxic hotspots. In addition to environmental benefits, GLRI funding garners an additional 3-to-1 return in economic benefits.  

While we need continued investment in Great Lakes restoration, the strategy guiding the GLRI was developed almost 20 years ago and needs an update. Federal agencies should revise the Great Lakes restoration strategy to address the next generation of threats to the lakes, including climate change and long-standing environmental injustices.  

In 2023, we urge Congress to: 

  • Fund the GLRI with at least $425 million in FY24 

In 2023, we urge federal agencies to take the following actions: 

  • The White House and U.S. EPA should update the Great Lakes action plan to address environmental injustice, climate resilience, and the next generation of risks to the Great Lakes.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should include large-scale natural infrastructure in the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study to address extreme water level changes caused by climate change. 

Download the Great Lakes restoration fact sheet.

The post Top 5 Great Lakes Federal Policy Priorities for 2023 appeared first on Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Original Article

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

News - Alliance for the Great Lakes

https://greatlakes.org/2023/01/top-5-great-lakes-federal-policy-priorities-for-2023/

Judy Freed

Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist Titus Seilheimer promised a “great adventure” during the premiere of a  new episode of “Feral,” 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, on the Outdoor Channel.

 “In the summer of 2022, I joined Twin Cities chef Yia Vang and 2022 James Beard Award Finalist for ‘Best Chef Midwest’ on the waters of my home lake in northwestern Wisconsin,” Seilheimer said. “We were on a dangerous hunt for an invasive species lurking in the depths of Rusk County’s Clear Lake, the Chinese mysterysnail! Okay, so not a dangerous hunt, but a great adventure.”

Two men standing side-by-side outdoors.

Titus Seilheimer (right) joins adventure-loving culinary explorer and top chef Yia Vang on a nationally broadcast show, “Feral,” to premiere at 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, on the Outdoor Channel.

Chinese mysterysnails were first reported in the U.S. more than 100 years ago when they showed up in the San Francisco area. They were likely brought to North America for sale in  live markets because they are a popular food in Asia.

They expanded their range over time and were first reported in Wisconsin’s Clear Lake in 2011. Seilheimer said, “I first spotted them shortly after and thought that big snails were a sign of good water quality. Soon after, at an invasive species conference, I was hit with the realization that those big snails in my lake were invasive mysterysnails.”

The snails are larger than the native species in Wisconsin lakes, so they can potentially outcompete the local snails. They also are more protected by their operculum (like a trap door), so they can avoid predation better than native species.

In addition to his culinary skills and ownership of Minneapolis’s Union Hmong Kitchen, Vang is the host of the nationally broadcast program “Feral.” A teaser for the Jan. 9 show recently dropped.  In it, we see Seilheimer in the background, encouraging Vang’s preparation of Chinese mysterysnails in a steaming saute pan. Vang refers to the nonnative snails as the Wagyu of the lake.

Dozens of snails in a plastic tub.

Nonnative Chinese mysterysnails collected from a Wisconsin lake just before Chef Vang prepared a tasty meal out of them.

The post Eating snails, for science first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/eating-snails-for-science/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=eating-snails-for-science

Moira Harrington

Great Lakes, Chicago River and Asian carp in the spotlight in Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Under a White Sky”

For Elizabeth Kolbert, the path to writing a book on our penchant to control nature started with a guided tour on the infamously reversed Chicago River.

Kolbert wanted to get a close look at the Asian carp issue and talk to the people on the front lines of efforts to repel the carp advance to the Great Lakes.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/10/great-lakes-chicago-river-asian-carp-elizabeth-kolbert/

Gary Wilson

Dave Dempsey explores connection between people, dogs and environmental policy in new book

When we think of our cherished dogs, most of us don’t easily make a connection to environmental policy or protecting the Great Lakes.

But that’s the path Traverse City’s Dave Dempsey followed in his latest book release, Half Wild: People, Dogs and Environmental Policy.

The premise of the book examines our tendency to engage in binary thinking on protecting the environment and the Great Lakes, much like dogs who are domesticated but retain long-ingrained wild tendencies.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/09/dave-dempsey-people-dogs-and-environmental-policy/

Gary Wilson

Modern sea lamprey control pits technology against the invaders

After 100 years of coordinated effort, 98% of all the sea lamprey in the Great Lakes have been eliminated, according to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the organization tasked with the management of the invasive species within the basin.

Unfortunately, the remaining 2% is enough to start the cycle all over again if left unchecked, and current technology “does not make complete eradication possible,” said Marc Gaden, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission communication director and legislative liaison.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/07/modern-sea-lamprey-control-pits-technology-against-the-invaders/

Kathy Johnson

Great Lakes Moment: The imperiled mussels of the Detroit River

Great Lakes Moment is a monthly column written by Great Lakes Now Contributor John Hartig. Publishing the author’s views and assertions does not represent endorsement by Great Lakes Now or Detroit Public Television.

Native freshwater mussels have experienced dramatic population declines in the Great Lakes due to habitat degradation, water pollution and the introduction of invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/07/great-lakes-moment-mussels-detroit-river/

John Hartig

In our newest TikTok, Echo reporter Caroline Miller discusses a recent study that documents the first sighting of an invasive species, European frogbit, in Wisconsin and says that it could threaten native plants, fish and invertebrates.

The post Rising water makes Lake Michigan wetlands vulnerable to invaders: TikTok edition first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

Original Article

Great Lakes Echo

Great Lakes Echo

http://greatlakesecho.org/2022/07/04/rising-water-makes-lake-michigan-wetlands-vulnerable-to-invaders-tiktok-edition/

Guest Contributor

Water test: a long history and hopeful future of human impact on Great Lakes ecology

This article was republished here with permission from Great Lakes Echo.

By Kurt Williams, Great Lakes Echo

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of stories about profound ecological changes that test our ability to manage the Great Lakes.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/06/history-future-human-impact-great-lakes-ecology/

Great Lakes Echo

The Lake Michigan and Lake Huron waters governed by an 1836 treaty are at the heart of negotiations between Michigan, the federal government and Native American tribes to determine how much and what kinds of fish can be harvested by recreational, state-licensed and Native American commercial fishers. Much has changed since the treaty was signed, notably because of invasive mussels. But change created by human activity was underway even before the signatories to the Washington Treaty ink dried in Washington D.C. in March 1836. 

The post Water test: human impact on Great Lakes waters predates quagga mussel invasion first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

Original Article

Great Lakes Echo

Great Lakes Echo

http://greatlakesecho.org/2022/06/24/water-test-human-impact-on-great-lakes-waters-predates-quagga-mussel-invasion/

Guest Contributor

From ‘carp’ to ‘copi’: unpopular fish getting a makeover

By John Flesher, Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — You’re in the mood for fish and your server suggests a dish of invasive carp. Ugh, you might say. But how about broiled copi, fresh from the Mississippi River?

Here’s the catch: They’re the same thing.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/06/ap-unpopular-fish-getting-makeover/

The Associated Press

The impact that quagga mussels have on the Great Lakes food web gives deep meaning to the saying, ‘food for thought.’ These prodigious filter-feeders are implicated in the decline of many Great Lakes fish species, well beyond those with commercial and recreational value.

The post Water test: quagga mussels hijack key Great Lakes nutrient first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

Original Article

Great Lakes Echo

Great Lakes Echo

http://greatlakesecho.org/2022/06/21/water-test-quagga-mussels-hijack-key-great-lakes-nutrient/

Guest Contributor

JEWEL OF THE GREAT LAKES: Group battles invasive species

By Steve Schulwitz, The Alpena News

This article is part of a collaboration between The Alpena News and Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television to bring audiences stories about the Great Lakes, especially Lake Huron and its watershed.

ALPENA – Aquatic invasive species continue to spread and threaten the ecosystem in the waterways near Alpena, local environmental professionals say.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/06/group-battles-invasive-species/

The Alpena News

Rising water makes Lake Michigan wetlands vulnerable to invaders

This article was republished here with permission from Great Lakes Echo.

By Caroline Miller, Great Lakes Echo

High water and ice scouring has shifted native wetlands inland and opened a door to invasive species along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coast.

A new study documents the first sighting of the invasive species, European frogbit, in Wisconsin and says that it could threaten native plants, fish and invertebrates.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/06/rising-water-lake-michigan-wetlands-invaders/

Great Lakes Echo

Michigan Great Lakes: Expect lower waters, ample fish and a hot summer

By Zahra Ahmad, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/06/michigan-great-lakes-summer/

Bridge Michigan

EPA: Two toxic hot spots in Michigan will take longer to clean up than many others in Great Lakes states

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/06/toxic-hot-spots-michigan-great-lakes-states/

Michigan Radio