URBANAIf you think youve happened on a new aquatic nuisance species (ANS) or an invasive species in new waters, reporting the details to the state of Illinois is now as easy as going online. The newly-remodeled Illinois Aquatic Nuisance Species Program Web site provides this feature, as well as information on State ANS laws, the state management plan, and the latest on hot topics such as the threat of Asian carp.
With links to a number of other Web pages, the site is a gateway to ANS information resources, said Pat Charlebois, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant biological resources specialist. In addition to learning what you can do to prevent the spread of invasive species, you can read about what the state of Illinois is doing to address this issue.
The Illinois Comprehensive Management Plan for ANS was developed to respond to the problem of invasive aquatic species, which pose both an economic and ecological threat to the region. These organisms, typically non-native plants and animals, can push out native species, disrupt habitats, and impair commercial and recreational use of local waterways.
Through management, research and outreach, the Illinois ANS program works to prevent new introductions of invasive species, limit the spread of established populations, and lessen harmful impacts from ANS infestations. The program addresses all pathways of introduction and spread, which includes informing relevant audiences that careful action can prevent the spread of invasive species, said Charlebois.
Management and outreach efforts are ongoing in a number of areas. Visitors to the new Web page can click on Illinois ANS Activities and learn about: the Purple Loosestrife Project, in which students and 4-H youth raise and release beetles to control this wetland plant; the electric barrier, an effort to keep invasive fish from flowing between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins; and the latest ANS research efforts, including a Sea Grant project assessing the impact of Asian carp.
The management program has also developed an online reporting system for aquatic nuisance species sightings. These notifications help us track the introduction and spread of ANS, and provide information necessary for management decisions, said Charlebois. All data are entered into a state-wide database.
The Web page also provides the opportunity to read ANS updates or sign up to have them e-mailed directly to you. These updates include recent significant sightings of invasive species, new ordinances, plus details on management and research projects.
This Web page was developed through Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, the Illinois Natural History Survey, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Web address is www.iisgcp.org/il-ans. If you would like to report an ANS sighting by phone, call 847-872-8677.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of 31 National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines university, government, business and industry expertise to address coastal and Great Lakes needs. Funding is provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U. S. Department of Commerce, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana.