Unwanted invasive species are threatening Pennsylvania’s natural and economic resources. Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, and pathogens (disease-causing organisms) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm. Familiar examples include Phragmites, zebra mussels, and Asian carp. Preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species is vital because these species compete with native species for limited resources, threaten biodiversity, cause widespread ecological disruption, and can even impact property values and tourism. More than 180 non-native aquatic species have become established in the Great Lakes, including such destructive species as the sea lamprey, and zebra and quagga mussels. Important pathways for introductions of invasive species into the Great Lakes include ballast water discharges from ships, unintentional transport by boaters and anglers, interconnections with the Mississippi River basin, and the pet and ornamental plant trade.
News and Initiatives
- Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species The Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species coordinates education, research, management and policy efforts to prevent new AIS from entering the basin and to control and mitigate those AIS populations already established. The Great Lakes Panel is one of six regional panels that report to the federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, which coordinates AIS efforts on a federal level. The Great Lakes Commission serves as administrator and provides staff support to the Great Lakes Panel.
- Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council The Governor's Invasive Species Council of Pennsylvania, also known as the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council (PISC), is a multi-agency advisory panel made up of 17 state agencies and non-governmental agencies with the common purpose of identifying invasive species of concern that currently or could potentially threaten the Commonwealth's natural and agricultural resources and the industries they support. Enacted in 2004 by Executive Order No. 2004-1, the Council's main purpose is to develop the Commonwealth's invasive species action plans, advise the Governor on invasive species policy development, and coordinate interagency response to invasive species threats.
- Great Lakes Detector of Invasive Aquatics in Trade (GLDIATR) The Great Lakes Detector of Invasive Aquatics in Trade (GLDIATR), developed by the Great Lakes Commission, collects, analyzes and allows users to access information about how many and what types of Great Lakes aquatic invasive species are being sold on the Internet. This information can be used by invasive species managers to inform and help target a variety of activities including outreach and education, risk assessment, monitoring and surveillance, and enforcement.
- Pennsylvania Zebra and Quagga Mussel Monitoring Network The Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program coordinates the Pennsylvania Zebra and Quagga Mussel Monitoring Network, which is dedicated to protecting Pennsylvania’s aquatic habitats from the threat of two harmful aquatic invasive species, zebra and quagga mussels.
- Protect your Waters. Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! The Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Coast Guard, empowers recreational users to become part of the solution in stopping the transport and spread of aquatic invasive species.
- Lake Erie Water Cooperative Weed Management Area The Lake Erie Watershed Cooperative Weed Management Area (LEW-CWMA) provides a framework of contacts, planning, and guidance to individuals, groups, organizations, and agencies engaged in the management of invasive plant species within the Lake Erie Watershed. The work of the CWMA helps members educate individuals, develop common management objectives, set realistic management priorities, facilitate effective treatment, and coordinate efforts over geographical and municipal boundaries with similar land types, use patterns, and problem species.