On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of LHCCC, thank you for inviting us back to this important environmental forum.
Explosive growth of Zebra Mussels spreading to all Great Lakes in less than two decades Voracious filter feeders, eating mainly phytoplankton – base of the lakes’ food chain.
While Zebras affected nearshore waters, Quaggas filter deep into the lakes and have caused a dramatic drop in phytoplankton. Lake Huron’s phytoplankton (base of food chain) has declined by 90%.
Since the beginning of the St. Lawrence Seaway (1950s), numbers of introduced species continues to climb. Lack of strict rules on ballast water exchange has been a key problem.
Coastlines are one of the most diverse ecological features in Ontario. Many species are Provincially or globally rare, some are threatened or endangered (due to development and other human activity). Threats from invasive species could negatively alter our beaches and other coastal systems.
Scientists predict that the spread of invasive species will be aided by conditions under climate change..
Working closely with local communities, we work for the betterment of the whole lake.
Our work focuses on research, education and community outreach. We undertake research where there are gaps in knowledge and a greater need to understand the scope of issues.
We face many challenges in the coming years. Our last 10 years has proven to us how local grassroots can make real, positive changes.
The Coastal Centre has worked closely with municipalities and community groups from Sarnia to Tobermory, Manitoulin Island and south Georgian Bay, and positive changes are starting to happen. We’ll continue our mission to “Provide leadership and expertise, in collaboration with partners, to achieve a healthy Lake Huron ecosystem,” but we need an engaged and informed coastal community to help make it happen.
www.lakehuron.on.ca Alien Invasive Species September 30, 2009
Problem: <ul><li>190+ alien species introduced into the Great Lakes </li></ul><ul><li>New introduction every 6 months </li></ul>
Threats to Our Lakes: <ul><li>Alien, invasive species enter the Great Lakes ecosystem having no competitors. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcompete and overtake native species. </li></ul><ul><li>Change the ecosystem – less biodiversity, more mono-cultures. </li></ul>
Zebra Mussels <ul><li>First sightings in Lake St Clair in 1988 </li></ul>2004
Affecting Nearshore Water Quality <ul><li>Mussels filter water, making it clear </li></ul><ul><li>More sunlight reaches bottom – good for plant growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Mussels excrement is high in Phosphorous. </li></ul>
Invasive Species on the Land <ul><li>Common Reed (Phragmites australis) </li></ul><ul><li>Taking over beaches, wetlands, river banks. </li></ul>
Other Invasive Plants: Spotted Knapweed Giant Hogweed Garlic Mustard
Climate Change <ul><li>Changes in average temperatures </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in precipitation patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Lower lake levels </li></ul>
The Coastal Centre : Advocating Grassroots Solutions <ul><li>Local control of conservation efforts, but with a whole lake perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>Beach conservation </li></ul><ul><li>Invasive species control </li></ul><ul><li>Habitat management </li></ul>
Summary <ul><li>Invasive species, if left unchecked, could disrupt entire ecosystems. </li></ul><ul><li>Pressures on coastal resources and habitats. </li></ul><ul><li>Great economic cost if not dealt with. </li></ul>
Future? <ul><li>We’re beginning to see informed, concerned citizens wanting action. </li></ul><ul><li>We either take action now, or expect great changes to take place. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn more – www.lakehuron.ca </li></ul>