Great Lakes

Aquatic Invasive Species: Surveillance

Story Highlights
  • "Early Detection and Rapid Response" is key to fighting invasive species.
  • With the right surveillance, we can stop an aquatic species invasion before it becomes unmanageable.
  • Because existing surveillance techniques are limited, we're working with partners to develop new, more effective ways to monitor invasive species.

One way to win the fight against non-native species is to recognize an invasion while it’s small and stop it before it spreads. In some cases, the species may even be able to be removed entirely. This approach is often referred to as “early detection and rapid response,” and good surveillance around the Great Lakes region plays a key in its effectiveness.

Existing surveillance techniques, however, are limited in their ability to detect aquatic species while populations are small and eradication is still possible. We are playing a critical role in the research and development of new tools for early detection of aquatic invasives and advising public agencies on rapid response efforts when new introductions are detected.

The Conservancy, the University of Notre Dame and others are:

  • Improving the effectiveness of government and community surveillance programs by developing and disseminating improved detection methods.
  • Designing and piloting innovative surveillance programs such as a Great Lakes Basin Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring program.
  • Continuing surveillance efforts for invasive plants and invertebrates in inland lakes.
  • Contributing technical advice to improve the effectiveness of the Asian carp response plan.