Aquatic invasive species have wreaked havoc on the Great Lakes ecosystem. Over 180 non-native species, many of them invasive, have been introduced into the lakes through the Erie and Welland Canals connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. A current major threat to the lakes is the potential spread of Asian carp into Lake Michigan from the Mississippi River via the Chicago Area Waterway System.
Sea lamprey, alewives, round gobies, zebra mussels, and quagga mussels are a few of the more invasive non-native species that have entered the Great Lakes, decimated populations of native species, and radically altered the ecosystem of the lakes. The ecological and economic damage resulting from these organisms is estimated at over $100 million annually.
What is the GLLC Doing?
The Caucus’s policy agenda identifies aquatic invasive species as one of the priority issues for the organization, committing to the following:
- Strengthen and harmonize state and provincial laws on ballast water
- Monitor and support efforts to prevent the introduction of Asian carp into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River
One of the key activities that the GLLC has followed since 2012 is the efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the introduction of Asian carp into the Great Lakes through the Chicago Area Waterway System. The Caucus has consistently urged the Corps to expedite the Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study. In addition, the Caucus has asked both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to address the problem of Asian carp through action and appropriations.
The Caucus also monitors activities related to ballast water as a means of introducing aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes.
Policy Positions and Correspondence
- Letter from Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus leaders to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Corps’ recommended plan for using the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to prevent the movement of Asian carp into the Great Lakes (2019)
- Letter from GLLC Executive Committee to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supporting Tentatively Selected Plan for work at Brandon Road Lock and Dam, urging expedited implementation of plan to prevent introduction of Asian carp (2017)
- Sign-on letter to President Donald Trump urging release of the Brandon Road Project Tentatively Selected Plan for controlling the spread of invasive species to the Great Lakes (2017)
- Sign-on letter opposing S. 373, Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (2015)
- Sign-on letter opposing S. 2094, Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (2014)
- Sign-on letter regarding Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study (2014)
- Sign-on letter in support of expediting Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study (2012)
For More Information
Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee
Blue Accounting (Great Lakes Commission)
Executive Collaboration on Aquatic Invasive Species (Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers)
Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Vessel Incidental Discharge Act Engagement Opportunities (U.S. EPA)