invasive species

treknature.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An invasive plant is spreading in Michigan waters.

The Department of Natural Resources says European frog-bit has been spotted in Saginaw Bay, Alpena and Chippewa County's Munuscong Bay. Until recently, the free-floating aquatic plant had been reported only in a few sites in the southeastern Lower Peninsula.

European frog-bit was released accidentally into Canadian waters in the 1930s. It has spread across Ontario and the Northeastern U.S.

flickr Kate Gardiner

There’s a lot of time, money and effort being spent to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

To keep them out, we first have to know where the carp are.

Biologists often go out and sample water from rivers and lakes to look for carp. They test the water for genetic material, and some of those tests have turned up positive for Asian carp.

Last year, 20 samples turned up positive hits in Lake Erie. The positive DNA hits raise alarm bells that an invasive carp species might be establishing a population in the Great Lakes.

But the presence of carp DNA does not mean an actual fish was swimming in that area.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

This week, the Department of Natural Resources went through a big training drill that’s a first of its kind in Michigan. The drill is supposed to prepare the agency for what to do if the Asian carp makes its way into Michigan’s rivers.

A dozen boats stamped with the DNR logo line the shores of the St. Joseph River. Some of them are normal fishing boats.

But a few have these metal poles sticking out about three feet in front of the boat. At the end of each pole are these long pieces of metal cable that hang down in the water.

The DNR’s Todd Somers is the foreman of one of these homemade boats. He points out a 240-volt generator near the back of the boat. It can deliver up to 16 amps through the metal poles at the front of the boat; sending electric shocks through the cables into the river. That’ll stun any fish nearby.

Sea lamprey
Activistangler.com

DETROIT (AP) - A team with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will estimate the abundance of sea lamprey in the Detroit River this month to determine what control measures might be needed.

The eel-like lamprey invaded the Great Lakes during the 1920s and has remained ever since. Lampreys attach to fish with a mouth resembling a suction cup. Their sharp teeth dig through a fish's scales and skin and feed on blood and body fluids.

The average lamprey will destroy up to 40 pounds of fish.

dnr.wi.gov

We have had many conversations on Stateside about invasive species, usually the type with scales and gills, such as Asian carp.

Today, we focus on invasive species with chlorophyll. Yes, non-native plants that are invading ecosystems in the Great Lakes.

Jo Latimore is an outreach specialist with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University, and she joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Today we focused our attention on what it takes to run an auto company, and the future of Michigan’s automakers.

And, we met a real life "Rosie the Riveter." She helped turn out bombers at the Willow Run Bomber Plant nearly 70 years ago.

And, we a got a preview of this year's Traverse City Film Festival, which kicks off this week.

Also, we took a look at what invasive plant species are threatening the Great Lakes and what can be done to stop them.

And, more and more people are doing their shopping on their smart phones. We spoke with a man from Ann Arbor who created an app to help with mobile shopping.

Also, John Fierst with the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University joined us to discuss Michigan In Letters, an online collection of letters that give insight to Michigan’s past.

First on the show, it's been just over a week since Detroit became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9.

Until now, that unwanted distinction belonged to Stockton, California. 

Earlier this year, Bridge Magazine writer Ron French wrote an article about his visit to bankrupt Stockton and Vallejo, a California town that has emerged from bankruptcy.

As Ron puts it, if Stockton is an example of a city just being diagnosed with fiscal "cancer," Vallejo is a community that has finished chemotherapy. And so far nobody seems particularly thrilled with the results.

Ron French joined us today. 

NorthAmericanFishing / YouTube

The National Wildlife Federation is suing the EPA over the agency's ballast water rules. The group says the rules are not stringent enough to stop invasive species from getting into U.S. waterways from ballast water discharges.

Invasive species found throughout the Great Lakes, such as quagga mussels, zebra mussels, round gobies, and spiny water fleas, most likely hitchhiked their way here in ballast water.

Here's how:

More on the NWF's lawsuit from the Duluth News Tribune:

The EPA in April announced its ballast water regulations after years of delays and actions by environmental groups to force the issue. But the National Wildlife Federation says the rules don’t go far enough to keep invasives out of U.S. waters, including the Great Lakes.

“The EPA’s permit will not adequately protect the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters from ballast water invaders. This weak permit leaves the door open for future harm to our environment and economy,” Marc Smith, senior policy manager for the group, said in announcing the suit. “We can do better — and need to do better — if we are to protect our fish and wildlife and their habitat for future generations.”

A farmer in Michigan could face up to $700,000 in fines for keeping a hybrid breed of pig if Michigan’s Attorney General’s office has its way.

Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources banned a species of wild Russian boar two years ago. The concern is that the pigs could escape from hunting reserves or farms and become hard to manage in the wild.

Mark Baker grows produce, and raises chickens, pigs and other animals at Baker's Green Acres in Marion.

Wisconsin DNR

There are more than 11,000 inland lakes in Michigan, and a lot of us love to take boats out on them. But invasive species also like to catch a ride on boats, and that’s a major way they get from one lake to another.

You might see people wearing blue t-shirts when you go to a boat launch this summer. They’re with the program Clean Boats Clean Waters, and they want to show you a few things about where invasive species like to hide out.

great-lakes.net

A three day conference is getting underway in Marquette today, looking at the unique needs of cities on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

More than a hundred American and Canadian cities are part of the group organizing the conference.

Dave Ulrich is the executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

He says this year’s conference is focusing on the effects of climate change on Great Lakes cities, particularly on water levels on the lakes.

Kate Gardiner / Creative Commons

Wildlife managers could have a harder time controlling spawning Asian carp, if they escape into the Lake Michigan from Chicago-area shipping canals. That's according to a report released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Elizabeth Murphy is a hydrologist with the USGS. She co-authored the study.

Murphy says new data shows fertilized Asian carp eggs can incubate in waterways that are only 16 miles long. That’s a lot less than the 62 miles scientists thought the drifting eggs needed.

Lawmakers in Lansing are quickly wrapping up the state budget for the next fiscal year. What will the $50 billion spending plan mean for you?

And, we took a look at the efforts to help prison inmates rebuild their lives through post-secondary education.

Also, we got an update on just how close the Asian Carp is to the Great Lakes.

First on the show, the Council of Great Lakes Governors met this past weekend on Mackinac Island.

The group talked of economic cooperation, and harmonizing plans for protecting the largest body of freshwater on the Earth’s surface. The discussions were mostly nice, but there were some disagreements, especially when it came to dealing with invasive species.

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta joined us today to explain.

Asian Carp
Kate.Gardner / Flickr

The Council of Great Lakes Governors met this past weekend on Mackinac Island.

The group talked of economic cooperation, and harmonizing plans for protecting the largest body of freshwater on the Earth’s surface. The discussions were mostly nice, but there were some disagreements, especially when it came to dealing with invasive species like Asian carp.

Rick Pluta filed a story on their meeting, and we also got an update on where things stand with Asian carp. 

We spoke with Duane Chapman, a research fish biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Chapman said that there have been three Bighead carp that have been caught in the Great Lakes, but not since 2000. 

Listen to the whole story to find out where the most recent DNA has been found in the Lakes, and how it got there.

To hear the story, click the audio above.

The brown marmorated stink bug is identified by its antennae and legs.
Rutgers University

The bug looks like this:

Michigan chefs experiment with Asian carp

Mar 26, 2013
Sarah Payette

One of the strategies to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is to eat the fish now living in the Mississippi River. But finding a market for millions of pounds of carp is not easy. Peter Payette wondered if people could get excited about Asian carp as a seafood delicacy. So he put some in the hands of chefs in Traverse City:

Asian Carp doesn’t taste like much. In fact, you might describe its taste as neutral.

University of Michigan

The Great Lakes are under a lot of stress. 

34 different kinds of stress, to be exact.

That’s according to a research team that has produced a comprehensive map showing many of the things that stress the Great Lakes.  Think: pollution, invasive species, development and climate change... just to name a few. 

Asian carp at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
Kate Gardiner / Creative Commons

They've become YouTube stars: big fat Asian carp leaping into boats and sometimes breaking bones as they come flailing into the boat of some poor person who just wanted to enjoy some time on the water.

A Carp Hunter in action near Peoria, IL.
YouTube

Shark Week, schmark week.

It's Asian Carp Week here at Michigan Radio!

All week long, The Environment Report has been bringing us stories about Asian Carp & the Great Lakes.

It's estimated that as many as 3,000 wild pigs are on the loose in Michigan. Nationwide, they cause more than $1.8 billion in damage to farms each year. So recently, the state's Department of Natural Resources put Russian boar on the state's invasive species list.

Michigan Technological University

Forests throughout Michigan are undergoing big changes as millions of beech and ash trees are killed off by pests and disease.

Beech Bark Disease and the Emerald Ash Borer first arrived in Michigan around twelve years ago.

Both problems continue to spread, but many forests still have healthy trees in them.

Foresters from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Tech are taking a closer look at more than 30,000 acres of state forest land.

Andrew Storer, professor of forest and insect ecology at Michigan Tech, said the plan is to harvest healthy stands of ash and beech trees before they’re affected.

"If it's consistent with the management objective of the stand, then removing resources that you know are not going to persist until the next cutting cycle makes a lot of sense just in terms of getting the value out of those trees while they’re still in the forest," said Storer.

Storer said harvesting these trees now can also help forest ecology.

"It helps the forest by getting a head start, if you like, on what the future forest is going to be, and so by removing trees now and getting the value from that, we’ll start to see what the regenerating forest is going to be, and through management be able to direct that regeneration toward species that are going to be successful in the forest in the future," said Storer.

In a press release, the Michigan DNR said the goal is not to remove all beech or ash trees in these forests, but to thin them to a healthier level.

"We are using criteria including proximity to the nearest infested site, infestation, size, density and quality of trees, and accessibility, in order to prioritize which areas need attention," said Bill O'Neill, chief of the DNR's Forest Resources Division, who also serves as state forester. "Considering other factors important to maintaining healthy forests, harvests are being scheduled to remove the beech and ash and regenerate the stand to a desired, productive species mix. The goal is not to remove all beech or ash, but to reduce them to a level that the mortality will not significantly impact the quality of the remaining trees or the productivity of the forest."

Researchers started surveying state forest land for this project last June and plan to continue surveying through next summer.

US Geological Survey -- Florida Integrated Science Center, Gainesville

State wildlife officials are concerned that a potentially damaging fish has turned up in the St. Joseph River in Berrien County.

A ball of white bread and 6-pound fishing line did this grass carp in.
user Catman529 / wikimedia

It's not one of the "Big Three" Asian Carp species that biologists worry could devastate an already struggling Great Lakes fishery (Bighead, Black, or Silver). But the Grass Carp is a species of Asian Carp officials are concerned about. The fish can damage native plant and fish habitat in lakes.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources plans to remove these illegal carp from a lake about 20 miles southeast of Jackson, Michigan.

Marrs Lake in Lenawee County is where officials previously said they found a grass carp. MDNR also plan to sample connected lakes (Washington, Wolf and Allen) for grass carp DNA to see whether the fish spread.

The grass carp was found during a June survey after a fisherman submitted a photo of one. During the survey, three other grass carp were spotted.

Meg Cramer

There’s so much to know about what’s happening in the world around us, and that information gives us insights into patterns and changes that could have a big impact on our lives.

But finding these trends requires a lot of data – and somebody has to go out and get it.

Chris Kort is one of those people. He's an ecological surveyor counting trees in Detroit. For every tree he counts, Kort marks where the tree is, then he adds details like its size, species, and health.

Kort does this all day long, walking up and down Detroit streets, counting trees on city property.

“Since March, I have surveyed 13,468 trees. And counting,” he says.

The data from this survey will go to the city, the state, and scientists at the U.S. Forest Service. It will tell a story about what’s happening to trees in the city.

A database like this has to be built manually by people like Chris Kort, tree by tree.

Kort is like the human version of the Google street view car, roving up and down blocks and adding to his map. He notices details that most people miss. There are some things you can only find on foot. 

“I’ve actually been collecting pennies on the sides of the roads for, like four months," says Kort, "I cashed in 2,200 pennies yesterday. People just don’t pick them up anymore apparently.”

Illinois DNR

An intensive four day search for the invasive Asian Carp gets underway near Chicago tomorrow. The search area is a short swim from Lake Michigan.

user MirkoB / Wikimedia Commons

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Authorities plan another intensive search for Asian carp next week after repeatedly detecting DNA from the invasive fish in Chicago's Lake Calumet.

Officials said Friday that genetic material from silver carp was found in samples taken in May and June. Policy requires stepped-up efforts to find the fish whenever their DNA turns up during three consecutive rounds of sampling in the same area.

Illinois DNR

Illinois officials are downplaying the recent discovery of Asian Carp DNA in a waterway a short distance from Lake Michigan.

Asian Carp are an invasive species that experts fear could devastate fish native to the Great Lakes.

Grass carp
USGS

A man was charged with 12 felony counts for illegally selling live Asian carp in Michigan. And he wasn't too inconspicuous - "grass carp" was apparently written on the side of his truck.

From the Michigan DNR:

...the Attorney General's Criminal Division has charged an Arkansas man with 12 felony counts of possessing and selling live Asian carp in violation of state law protecting against the spread of invasive species. The charges follow a joint investigation by the DNR's Special Investigation Unit and Commercial Fish Enforcement Unit.

Grass carp are a type of Asian carp. Grass carp have been illegal to sell in Michigan for decades because the invasive species is a voracious plant eater.

Officials say grass carp "could potentially remove all vegetation from a body of water at the expense of native species."

The fish were imported in the 1960's and have been used to control weeds in ponds.

State officials say David Shane Costner, 42, of Harrisburg, Ark., had 110 grass carp housed in a semi-truck. Costner was working for Farley's Arkansas Pondstockers.

More from the MDNR:

Costner allegedly traveled around the state, conducting sales of the illegal carp from store parking lots. The trucks also contained live fish species permitted under state law, including channel catfish, largemouth bass and fathead minnows. On May 16, 2012, Costner allegedly sold two of the live grass carp to undercover DNR investigators in Midland, Mich.

David Eggert of MLive reports Costner's truck had the words "grass carp" written on the side.

The wildlife agency received a tip that Costner had been selling illegal carp at several locations in southern Michigan and the west side of the state, Golder said... Costner could not be reached for comment. A secretary who answered the phone at Farley's said he no longer works there.

Grass carp are just one of four species of Asian Carp officials are worried about. And Grass carp appear to be the least of their worries when it comes to threats to the Great Lakes.

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee lists three Asian Carp that are of concern - Grass carp are not on the list:

There are three species of Asian carp that are considered invasive and a threat to the Great Lakes: the bighead, silver and black carp. Silver and bighead carp are filter-feeding fish and consume plant and animal plankton. Asian carp can grow to large sizes: some as large as 110 pounds, though the average size is around 30-40 pounds. Bighead and silver carp are voracious eaters, capable of eating 5-20 percent of their body weight each day. They consume plankton—algae and other microscopic organisms—stripping the food web of the key source of food for small and big fish. Black carp differ in that they consume primarily mollusks, and threaten native mussel and sturgeon populations. They can grow to seven feet in length and over 100 pounds.

user drow_male / wikimedia commons

The Nature Conservancy has released an analysis saying that invasive species such as zebra mussels and sea lamprey cost businesses and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars each year, besides damaging the environment in the Great Lakes region.

Power companies spend $130 million annually removing mussels from electric plants.

The report out yesterday said tourism and other industries lose $50 million a year in reduced demand because of invasive species.

The study conducted by Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing says the situation will get worse if Asian carp reach the Great Lakes.

Asian carp at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
Kate Gardiner / Creative Commons

The federal government says it will speed up a decision on how to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species in the Mississippi River basin. The Obama administration announced the new timetable Tuesday.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Purple Loosestrife is a widespread invasive plant. It’s taken over wetlands in every state in the US except Florida. But now, scientists consider Purple Loostrife an invasive species success story.

Purple Loosestrife are the tall bright purple flowering plants you see mixed in with cattails lining the edge of many lakes and wetlands.

A long road before success

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