Itís More Than Mussels
by Sea Grant Staff
The ninth international Zebra Mussel and Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Conference will take place in Duluth, MN, from April 26-30, 1999. The conference is considered the most comprehensive forum for experts to present results concerning impacts of marine and freshwater nuisance species. This year’s conference will feature panel discussions on ANS policy issues, as well as research reports concerning the biology, ecology, control and management, and impacts of ANS. Discussions will also focus on outreach and educational programs.
Although zebra mussels are the most widely known ANS, dozens of other species are causing significant damage to marine and freshwater resources and to the economies that depend upon them. That’s why the conference will feature nearly two dozen aquatic invasive species, and special ruffe and round goby sessions. It’s the first time these special symposia have been part of the conference.
“Minnesota Sea Grant is pleased to host the conference back in the Great Lakes,” said Doug Jensen, conference co-chair. “For the past two years, it’s been held on the Gulf and West Coasts. This conference is an excellent opportunity to share the latest findings, technology, management strategies, and public education programs related to ANS prevention and control.
“This year’s conference will take a proactive look at some rather controversial topics, including the future use of chlorine for ANS control, the pros and cons of biological controls, and ballast water control technology and policy,” said Jensen. “As experience has shown, proactive efforts can mean huge cost savings by mitigating the impacts and preventing the spread of ANS.”
Each year the conference attracts about 400 participants from across the United States, Canada and other countries. A sampling of the nearly 125 presentations at the conference finds topics ranging from the use of chili pepper-based paints on boats to deter zebra mussels, efforts to predict what kinds of fish might invade the Great Lakes in the future, using zebra mussels as a filter for livestock waste, how round gobies affect lake sturgeon populations, and how Eurasian ruffe impact yellow perch in experimental enclosures.
This year’s conference aims to involve a younger audience with two new features - a poster competition and a youth leadership workshop. Young people are invited to submit posters that feature an educational message about exotic species. Students in grades 5 to 12 can attend a one-day workshop to learn about exotic species, hear how youth are involved in the management of exotics, and to participate in actual field monitoring on the St. Louis River. These young people will then develop action strategies for their own communities.
The conference will be held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The registration fee is $375 ($265 for students) and includes all sessions, continental breakfasts, luncheons, coffee breaks, receptions, a boat tour of the Duluth-Superior Harbor that highlights ANS issues, and a bus tour of the City of Duluth. A Thursday-only fee is available for people who only want to attend the special round goby and Eurasian ruffe symposia. For more information contact the conference administrator, Elizabeth Muckle-Jeffs, at 800-868-8776 or by e-mail.