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Michigan Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species State Management Plan

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Michigan Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species State Management Plan

Michigan has recently adopted a "Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species State Management Plan" to achieve the following stated objectives.

  • Prevent the new introductions of aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes and inland waters of Michigan
  • Limit the spread of established populations of aquatic nuisance species into uninfested waters of Michigan
  • Abate harmful ecological, economic, social, and public health impacts resulting from the infestation of aquatic nuisance species

The plan emphasizes the adverse fiscal consequences of aquatic nuisance species. The plan reflects that, if not stopped, the Eurasian Ruffe may inflict damage to the commercial and sport fishing industry in the range of $24 to $214 million. "While trying to prevent new biological invasions to the Great Lakes might seem expensive, the costs will be less than the costs incurred to control species after they have invaded an ecosystem. The total cost of controlling zebra mussels alone would equal the cost of regulating ballast water discharges in the shipping industry." A 1991 survey of municipal water plants in the Great Lakes reported a total cost of $9.1 million for zebra mussel control, and recent concern has centered on the possibility that zebra mussels could spread to sub-irrigation systems used by farmers for irrigation and drainage of cropland. The potential total cost of the zebra mussel invasion in North America is between $400 million and $500 million for this decade.

The plan would implement "integrated pest management control," a system which uses all suitable techniques in an economical and ecologically sound manner to reduce and maintain pest populations at levels that do not have an economic impact, while minimizing the danger to humans and the environment. Integrated pest management control may combine biological control, pest resistance, autocidal, cultural, and mechanical and physical control methods, but it is not a purview for "renovative" chemical treatments of aquatic plants in lakes, including native species.

The plan does not advocate the development of new statutes or rules, nor does it specify modifications to existing controls. Policies and procedural approaches are cited as a potential means of altering practices without creating a new regulatory program. Particular reference is made to the "Policy on Non-indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species" adopted by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in 1993. The plan does seek to implement existing controls in an integrated fashion, including those already applicable to aquaculture, the bait industry, and the aquatic pet trade. Outreach activities are also a major component of the plan, including participation by Michigan Sea Grant.

A purpose of the plan is to outline an implementation strategy for aquatic nuisance species control in Michigan. Direction is provided to the Michigan Department of Environemtnal Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. The plan is also sought to achieve the objectives of the Nonindengenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act. Funding is sought through that act in the amount of $466,700 over a three-year period to help implement the plan.121

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