Aquatic Invasive Species


Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers Add Five "Least Wanted" AIS

On May 4, 2018, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers announced five additions to the list of “least wanted” aquatic invasive species. In 2013, the Governors and Premiers released the first list of 16 “least wanted” aquatic invasive species (AIS) that present a serious threat to the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Basin. Since then, the region’s eight states and two provinces have taken more than 40 actions to prohibit or restrict these high-risk species, including the Asian carp. The new “least wanted” AIS include:

  • Tench Tinca tinca
  • Marmorkreb (marbled crayfish) Procambarus fallax forma virginalis
  • New Zealand mud snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum
  • European frogbit Hydrocharis morsus-ranae
  • Yellow floating heart Nymphoides peltata

State and provincial AIS and fisheries experts, in conjunction with leading regional researchers, identified these five AIS as posing a high risk of invasion or spread within the region. The Governors and Premiers will take aggressive action and work with regional partners to prevent the spread of these aquatic invaders.

AIS cost the U.S. and Canada billions of dollars in damages each year, are a burden on the economy, and strain state, provincial and federal budgets. They pose a threat to human health and cause immeasurable ecological damage to native species, with consequences for our region’s sport and commercial fisheries, tourism and recreation. More than 180 nonnative species have been introduced into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

Governors and Premiers Strengthen Protections Against AIS

At their 2017 Leadership Summit in Detroit and Windsor, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers adopted a resolution that enhances regional protections against AIS.  Through the resolution, the States and Provinces will explore opportunities to collaborate on enforcement of AIS laws including better coordination on investigations, and to expand the "least wanted" AIS list.  Since 2013, the list of "least wanted" AIS has resulted in more than 40 State and Provincial actions to stop the movement of high-risk species into the region.


Council of Great Lakes Governors Applauds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its recent proposal to list additional species under the Lacey Act.

In a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Council of Great Lakes Governors applauded it for its proposal to list species under the Lacey Act.  In 2013, State and Provincial aquatic invasive species (AIS) experts identified four of these species – Yabby, Stone Moroko (topmouth gudgeon), Zander, and Wels Catfish – as posing an ecological risk if they were to enter the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. These species were included on the Governors’ and Premiers’ “least wanted” AIS list, which includes a total of 16 plant and animal species and is driving aggressive State and Provincial action to prohibit their transfer in the region, and have been proposed for inclusion on the Lacey Act list. 

A full copy of the letter sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can be found here.

Governors of Michigan and Ohio and Premier of Ontario commit to harmonize programs to combat Aquatic Invasive Species

On June 13, 2015 at the Leadership Summit of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers, the Governors of Michigan and Ohio and the Premier of Ontario committed to the development of a pilot project to harmonize approaches to address Aquatic Invasive Species and further cooperation among their three jurisdictions.  A copy of the full resolution that was signed at the Summit can be found here.

Governors' and Premiers' Mutual Aid Agreement Protects Region from Aquatic Invaders

In April 2014, the Governors and Premiers announced a Mutual Aid Agreement that empowers the States and Provinces to work together to address a serious regional threat from aquatic invasive species (AIS).  As of March, 2015, all of the States and Provinces are moving forward to implement this agreement and better protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.  

  • In September 2014, Michigan and Ohio led a joint exercise targeting grass carp in Lake Erie.  Illinois, New York and Ontario assisted in this exercise.
  • In May 2014, Illinois and Indiana led a joint exercise targeting Eurasian ruffe in Lake Michigan’s Calumet Harbor.  Michigan and Minnesota also participated in this exercise.

For a signed copy of the Mutual Aid Agreement, click here.