Invasive fish and plants that have plagued the Great Lakes region for decades are getting some special attention this week.
A series of education workshops, along with opportunities for volunteer involvement, are taking place across New York State. Activities along the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario basin include learning to identify and remove invasive species.
Andrea Locke from WNY PRISM, one of the groups sponsoring the event, says it’s important to stop invasives before they take hold.
“Unfortunately, we don’t really notice invasive species until they’re causing significant harm to our environment," she said. "So, by trying to get everyone in the region to recognize new species coming in, we can address them as soon as they arrive rather than waiting for their population to explode."
There are more than 180 invasive species in the Great Lakes region. And though the number entering the great lakes has slowed, a new report shows they’re still causing damage.
“Invasive species have wide ranging impacts on not only our environment, but our economy and even human health," Locke said. "We’ve seen impacts on recreation, we’ve seen loss of biodiversity."
The State of the Great Lakes report recently rated all of the Great Lakes poorly when it came to aquatic invasives.