A poster showing images of aquatic nonindigenous species established in the Great Lakes. Credit: NOAA
GLANSIS: A One-Stop Shop for Great Lakes Aquatic Invaders
By Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, NOAA Affiliate
Rochelle Sturtevant, NOAA Regional Sea Grant Specialist
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The health of the Great Lakes ecosystem has been jeopardized for decades by invasions of more than 180 aquatic nonindigenous species. These non-native species include fish, plants and pathogens that arrived here in many ways, from seeds carried by early European settlers to ballast water from ocean-going vessels.
Major challenges in managing the Great Lakes ecosystem include understanding how aquatic nonindigenous species are introduced and spread, how they can change native ecosystems and impact the regional economy, and methods for prevention and control.
GLANSIS is a node of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. It’s a “one-stop shop” that presents information on aquatic invaders in US and Canadian waters which are causing ecological and economic impacts, and supports research and management in the Great Lakes region by providing a foundation of peer-reviewed information on which to base management strategies.
Canada and the United States created the International Joint Commission because they recognized that each country is affected by the other’s actions in lake and river systems along the border. The two countries cooperate to manage these waters wisely and to protect them for the benefit of today’s citizens and future generations.
The IJC is guided by the Boundary Waters Treaty, signed by Canada and the United States in 1909. The treaty provides general principles, rather than detailed prescriptions, for preventing and resolving disputes over waters shared between the two countries and for settling other transboundary issues. The specific application of these principles is decided on a case-by-case basis.
The IJC has two main responsibilities: regulating shared water uses and investigating transboundary issues and recommending solutions.The IJC’s recommendations and decisions take into account the needs of a wide range of water uses, including drinking water, commercial shipping, hydroelectric power generation, agriculture, industry, fishing, recreational boating and shoreline property.