Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Learn > Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)


What are aquatic invasive species?

The following is one of many different definitions: "a non-native species introduced to an aquatic ecosystem that causes environmental and/or economic harm." Other terms such as "exotic species" and "nuisance species" are used interchangeably with invasive species. Aquatic invasive species have come to the forefront of issues impacting our lakes, streams, and wetlands and are increasingly the focus of Watershed Council monitoring and management programs.

What are the impacts of aquatic invasive species?

There are both economic and ecological impacts, both of which are quite serious. Economically, there are losses in tourism, sports-fisheries, industry and more. In Michigan, fishing expenditures alone exceed $800,000,000 per year1, a figure that could drop substantially as aquatic invasive species disrupt ecosystems and impact fisheries. Losses in the U.S. are estimated at $78.5 billion annually and studies have estimated lost property values on infested water bodies of up to $12,000 per property2. Ecologically, aquatic invasive species' impacts include food-web disruptions, native species reduction or loss (and dependent species), water quality degradation, and the introduction of pathogens. Furthermore, ecosystem disruptions and imbalances can result in increased danger to human health.

How are we dealing with aquatic invasive species in northern Michigan?

The Watershed Council works on many fronts when it comes to invasive species. We have programs to monitor the spread of invasive species, such as the Aquatic Invasive Species Patrol, which is described in more detail below. We also actively work to manage invasive species in our lakes and streams where it is feasible. We have worked with several lake associations throughout northern Michigan to control Eurasian watermilfoil and purple loosestrife infestations. Beyond monitoring and management, the Watershed Council works to combat the aquatic invasive species problem on the policy front; encouraging and supporting legislation that addresses the spread of invasive species.

1 U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau. 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. 2 Varney, R. W. 2004. Fighting the Spread of Invasive Species in Connecticut. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/region01/ra/column/archive/invasivespecies_ct_20040809.html

Aquatic Invasive Species Watch Cards


Thanks to a grant from The Joyce Foundation, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council was able to prepare and print a series of aquatic invasive watch cards for their volunteer lake and stream monitors. The set includes detailed photos and information for identifying specific invaders. 

CLICK HERE to download the entire card packet or click on the individual invasive species below to download a single card. 
For more information or to purchase pre-printed card sets, please contact Kevin Cronk at 231-347-1181 or email kevin@watershedcouncil.org.

Round Gobies

Photo courtesy:
Dave Brenner
Michigan Sea Grant

Eurasian Ruffe

Photo courtesy:
Dave Jude
Michigan Sea Grant

Zebra Mussels

Photo courtesy:
Dave Brenner
Michigan Sea Grant

Quagga Mussels

Photo courtesy:
Dave Brenner
Michigan Sea Grant

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Sea Lamprey

Photo courtesy:
Dave Brenner
Michigan Sea Grant

Bloody Red Shrimp


Asian Carp

Photo courtesy of:
Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Japanese KnotweedAlewive

Invasive Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed and Giant Knotweed

Curly-Leaf Pondweed

(Potamogeton crispus)

European Frogbit

(Hydrocharis morsus-ranae)


Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council • 426 Bay Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
PH: (231) 347-1181 • Fax: (231) 347-5928 • www.watershedcouncil.org
Copyright © 2015 by Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. All rights reserved. SiteMap
Powered by SiteChalk