Addressing the Threat of Organisms in Trade in the Great Lakes Region: Science-based Risk Assessment and Outreach

Patrice M. Charlebois, Reuben P. Keller

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Laurentian Great Lakes ecosystem has a history of species invasions, with many of these species being imported intentionally as organisms in trade (OIT). The vectors that move OIT and include the trades in water garden and aquarium organisms, biological supplies, live bait, and live food. State and federal agencies have developed lists of species that are banned from import and sale in an effort to prevent the establishment of new invasive species. However, because development of these lists is not coordinated, many species are restricted in some parts of the Great Lakes region but not others, and the rationale for listing species differs across states. This lack of coordination has created an inefficient system for protecting a shared ecosystem. We and our partners have worked to address this inefficiency by developing transparent, science-based risk assessment tools that can be used across the Great Lakes region paired with outreach to managers, retailers, and consumers of OIT. At the request of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in 2003, we began this work by facilitating a stakeholder group that developed a risk assessment tool for aquatic invasive plants, and a subsequent list of species considered potentially invasive. We have since developed risk assessment tools for the suite of OIT that have been introduced to the Great Lakes, worked with managers and policy-makers to ensure that those tools meet their needs, and conducted extensive outreach to communicate the invasion risks from OIT. Our work has resulted in additional regulations for species in some states, but there remain inefficiencies in management programs. These inefficiencies can be improved to further reduce invasion risks from OIT.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference - Milwaukee, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2018Jan 31 2018
Conference number: 78


Conference2018 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • INHS


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