Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fighting Back

Having worked on the Great Lakes for a decent chunk of my young career I am all to familiar with invasive species and the devastating effects they can have on an ecosystem.  Unfortunately most of the news concerning invasive species is negative and in systems like the Great Lakes it seems as though someone left the front door open for invasive species to swim on in.  In fact, it's probably one of the major reasons I wanted to moved on from working on the Great Lakes.  Invasive species are depressing and the situation never seems to improve.  That is not to say the marine environment doesn't have its own invasive species problems, as we've seen from the invasion of lionfish.

But the news isn't all bad.

It seems as though Lake George in New York has had success in turning back invasive species.  When Asian clams were discovered in the lake scientists quickly mobilized to eradicate the threat.  The location of the clams in the lake was identified, and mats are being laid over the top to "snuff" out the tiny invaders.
But it doesn't end there.

Lake George has had past success in avoiding invasive species.  Eurasian watermilfoil has been contained in the lake using barriers, and zebra mussels were wiped out by volunteer divers who picked them off of rocks.  It's pretty incredible when you think about it.

Granted Lake George is a smaller system so it is probably easier to contain and eradicate invasive species than in larger systems.  However, I think it speaks to the importance of long term monitoring and having proactive user groups that these threats were quickly identified and dealt with.  Hopefully Lake George has the same success with the Asian Clam.  

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