$400,000 Grant to Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species from Spreading

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has awarded the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program $400,000 through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This funding extends education efforts that span the Great Lakes states with messages about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, led by Minnesota, is working to ensure that people know the alternatives to releasing live bait, aquarium and watergarden species, and study specimens through the Habitattitude campaign. Through Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!, the Network and its partners have successfully reached boaters and anglers with information about ways to keep aquatic organisms from spreading through recreational activities.

"We need to continue our successes and apply what we've learned to other ways aquatic invasive species can spread," said Doug Jensen, Minnesota Sea Grant's aquatic invasive species program coordinator. "We've found that once people understand what to do and why, they usually do it."

Jensen said surveys indicate that 84 percent of aquarists and water gardeners would seek alternatives to releasing pets and plants into the environment after they learned about the relationships among aquatic invasive species, conservation and their hobby.

Studies support the need for continued messaging about aquatic invasive species. For instance, University of Minnesota researchers found 93 percent of orders for typical watergarden plants arriving by mail came with additional plants, animals, fungi, or algae. As reported in the July 2004 issue of Biological Conservation, ten percent of the orders included aquatic invasive species like hydrilla, purple loosestrife and curly-leaf pondweed.

As part of the GLRI project, Wisconsin Sea Grant will host a research symposium on potential invasive species in the marketplace and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant will expand the Nab the Aquatic Invader! youth education program. For a list of the 2012 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative awards, go to: http://greatlakesrestoration.us/2012epagrants.html.

Posted on October 12, 2012


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