NOAA Awards $2 Million for Regional Sea Grant Efforts to Fight Aquatic Invasive Species

December 1, 2010

Purple loosestrife is a widespread aquatic invasive species.

Purple loosestrife is a widespread aquatic invasive species.

Download here (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA today announced $2 million in grants from its National Sea Grant College Program to prevent and control aquatic invasive species. NOAA awarded five regional grants to combat high-priority aquatic invasive species identified by natural resource managers in each region.

“Invasive species in our waterways are threatening ecosystems from coast to coast — from tunicates on the West Coast and Australian spotted jellyfish on the East Coast to the round goby in our Great Lakes,” said Leon Cammen, NOAA Sea Grant director. “These grants will help to reduce the great ecological and economic costs of aquatic invasive species.”

Sea Grant programs and their partners applied for these grants through a competitive process. Winning applicants by region include:

Alaska Region

Alaska Sea Grant and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are receiving $400,000 to implement an early detection and rapid response framework for invasive marine species in Alaska. The detection system will use observations from volunteer “citizen scientists.” The Alaska Sea Grant Program is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Invasive quagga mussel from Lake Michigan.

Invasive quagga mussel from Lake Michigan.

Download here (Credit: NOAA)

Great Lakes Region

Five Great Lakes Sea Grant programs are receiving a $384,000 grant to educate professional and tournament anglers about the need to prevent non-native species from invading waterways. Grant money will also be used to conduct workshops on prevention at fishing tournaments. Wisconsin Sea Grant will lead this effort with the Sea Grant programs in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois-Indiana and Ohio.

Mid-Atlantic Region

Six Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant programs are receiving a $400,000 grant for outreach efforts aimed at preventing accidental introduction of non-native aquatic plants into coastal waters with live bait used by anglers. Maryland Sea Grant will lead this effort with Sea Grant programs in Delaware, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. 

Pacific Northwest and Southwest Regions

Four West Coast Sea Grant programs are receiving $416,000 this year for efforts to develop a method to better predict the risk of aquatic invasive species and better understand the economic value of early detection and rapid response. These programs will also develop strategies for managing the risk of non-native mussels invading West Coast waters through long-distance water tunnels and will investigate school classrooms as a potential source of new invasions (via educational aquariums). Oregon Sea Grant is leading these efforts with Sea Grant programs in Washington and California.

Pacific Region

The University of Guam Sea Grant Project is receiving $400,000 for efforts to explore how invasive aquatic plants and algae may be controlled by fish, snails and other plant-eating marine creatures. The grant will also support identification, monitoring and research on factors contributing to introduction of non-native species and ways to prevent them. Hawaii Sea Grant is a partner on this grant. 

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov.