invasive species

Today on Stateside, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is forcing Michigan ports to make expensive changes, even though ports nearby, including one in Toledo, don't have to do the same. Plus, the long and gruesome history of the invasive sea lamprey’s presence in the Great Lakes.

A dead water bird, speckled black and white, lies on beach grass.
National Park Service

Dozens of dead loons washed up at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore last week. On Friday afternoon, the official carcass count was 32.

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

The invasive aquatic plant called European frogbit was found in Oceana and Ottawa counties this summer. 

Frogbit is a small green plant that looks like a water lily. Kevin Walters with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said it can form dense mats on the water's surface.

"So there’s no light penetration in the water, it makes movement of waterfowl and fish difficult," Walters said. "For humans it makes access to the water for fishing, swimming, boating, things like that can become very difficult."

KATE GARDINER / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1RFRZRK

Michigan lawmakers visited Illinois on Monday to learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to stop Asian Carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

Today on Stateside, does a new pretrial risk assessment tool aimed at helping judges answer complex pretrial questions help or hurt defendants? Plus, we talk to an expert about the spotted lanternfly, a destructive invasive insect that could be making its way to Michigan. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

A man in coveralls bends over a hole in ice and pulls out a net.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio


A decline in lake whitefish is pushing some tribal commercial fishermen out of Lakes Michigan and Huron. They’re spending more time in Lake Superior, the only place they say they can still make a living. This has fishermen and scientists worried about whether whitefish populations there can withstand the extra pressure.

Today on Stateside, how have communities across Michigan fared in the nearly 10 years since the official end of the Great Recession? Plus, a conversation with a chef from Detroit who’s elevating the art of cannabis edibles beyond the usual pot brownie. 

Northland College

If caretakers of the Great Lakes aren’t careful, thirsty people from all corners of the world could come calling for our abundant supply of fresh, clean water.

So warns Peter Annin’s book “The Great Lakes Water Wars," first published in 2006.

Morgan Springer

Lake whitefish are the most important commercial fish species in Michigan. But in the last decade, state biologists say fishers are harvesting about a third of what they used to get. 

Growing Saskatoon berries in northern Michigan is becoming more challenging thanks to an invasive species called spotted wing drosophila.
Rick Cross

Berry harvest is underway in northern Michigan, and this season’s crop forecasts are rosy. But getting those crops harvested is requiring heavier use of insecticides because of an invasive pest that’s on the rise. The situation is taking a toll on the region’s farms and orchards.


Beaches along Lake Michigan are closed when E. coli bacteria gets too high. But a nasty critter found on the bottom of the lake might help keep the beaches open.

There are five new invasive species on the “least wanted list.”

That’s a list the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers puts together. The leaders of the eight states and two provinces on the Lakes decide which species pose the highest risk.

Michigan paddlers invited to report invasive species

Mar 26, 2018
Michigan Sea Grant

A Great Lakes group wants paddlers to help in the fight against invasive species. 

Michigan Sea Grant – a group run by the University of Michigan and Michigan State University – is starting a program to teach kayakers and canoers to report aquatic invasive species found along waterways.   

Invasive garlic mustard -- love it or leave it?

Dec 18, 2017
Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Invasive species are an expensive problem in the United States – federal agencies spent more than $104 million last year to control them. But a recent study on garlic mustard shows that it might be better to leave some invasive species alone.

 

Lakes Superior and Erie have too many sea lampreys.

The invasive fish latch onto big fish like lake trout and salmon and drink their blood and body fluids. A single lamprey can kill up to 40 pounds of fish in its lifetime.

Listen to today's Environment Report.

Around the Great Lakes, millions of dollars are spent to fight invasive species like Asian carp. But when scientists find a new animal or plant in the area, it’s not always clear if it’s harmful or helpful.

USDA warns about the invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle

Aug 29, 2017
ANGELICA A. MORRISON

The US Department of Agriculture is asking residents along the Great Lakes corridor and beyond to watch out for an invader- the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).At the North Tonawanda Audubon Nature Preserve, located north of Buffalo, environmental workers and volunteers hung black and white warning signs about the bug.

Autopsy reveals more on Asian carp caught near Lake Michigan

Aug 22, 2017

Cross section of Asian carp's vertebrae Credit U.S. Geological Survey Edit | Remove

Back in June, an Asian carp was caught just nine miles from Lake Michigan. Somehow it got past electric barriers designed to keep those fish out of the Great Lakes. Now an autopsy reveals new details.

An Asian carp was caught this summer in a place where it shouldn’t be – beyond an electric barrier meant to keep the species out of Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes. Now, a researcher at Southern Illinois University is trying to figure out just how it got there.

Trying to trap invasive sea lamprey with "eel ladders"

Aug 9, 2017

The sea lamprey is an invasive fish with a round mouth like a suction cup. It latches onto big fish like lake trout and salmon, drills its razor sharp tongue into them, and gets fat drinking their blood and body fluids. A single lamprey can kill up to 40 pounds of fish in its lifetime.

We spend about $20 million dollars a year to control lampreys. One of the main ways people do that is with a pesticide, but researchers are working on other ways to control the invasive species.

Max Johnston

Many people consider carp to be a ‘trash fish,’ but fly fishing for carp is very popular in northern Michigan. This year though, guides have cancelled trips and lost thousands of dollars because they can’t find the fish.

 

Some blame another growing sport: bowfishing.

 

 

When carp spawn in Grand Traverse Bay, their backs actually protrude from the water like a shark because there are so many packed in shallow waters.

 

It has scales so tough Native Americans once used them as arrowheads.

It can grow longer than a horse, and it loves to munch on Asian carp.

It's the alligator gar!

This ancient fish is found in the south, but they're being restocked in rivers and lakes as far north as Illinois in hopes they might control Asian carp and, in turn, protect the Great Lakes. 

U.S. Geological Survey

An environmental group is testing a new weapon in the war on invasive, aquatic species in northern Michigan.

It’s a pesticide called Zequanox that kills zebra and quagga mussels, and is approved for use in open water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council of Emmet County will test it on zebra mussels in inland lakes in the area next year.

For many of us, the day doesn’t really start until we polish off that steaming cup of coffee.

But a fungus called "coffee rust” is putting that luxury in jeopardy. It’s attacking coffee plants across Mexico and Central America, and in recent years has caused more than $1 billion in crop losses and cost thousands of workers their jobs.

Two University of Michigan professors have been studying coffee in Mexico for nearly 20 years. They want to understand just how this fungus spreads and how best to shut it down.

This week, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to write new rules for the ballast water in ships.

Four environmental groups sued the EPA over its current ballast water rule.

Invasive species can get into the Great Lakes in ballast water. Salties are ships that cross the ocean, and lakers are ships that travel only within the Great Lakes. In the decision, the judges criticize the EPA for exempting lakers from certain regulations. 

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