Tackling Michigan’s invasive species threat

August 5, 2016

By Tanya Baker

One of the most significant threats facing the Great Lakes today are invasive species. Their introduction is capable of not only causing harm to the environment, but the economy and human health, too.

As Great Lakes charter boat companies urge Congress to pass bills aimed at keeping invasive carp out of Lake Michigan, the State of Michigan is making important environmental investments to address invasive species, including Asian carp.

“We are committed to addressing significant water issues to better protect and enhance Michigan’s water resources for Michiganders now and into the future,” Gov. Rick Snyder said.

One such investment is a new and exciting competition that will award $1 million for innovative solutions to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. The competition will call upon the global entrepreneurial community to help Michigan combat the spread of Asian carp. Similar to the non-profit organization XPRIZE, the challenge aims to foster a public competition that encourages the development of inventive ideas and technologies that will aid Michigan’s response to this great threat. More details on the competition and how to apply will be made available this fall.

As the state begins to engage entrepreneurs around the world on this issue, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources has put an Asian Carp Management Plan in place to survey and provide procedures for removing detected invasive carp in the state’s waters. Additionally, Michigan’s newly developed, 30-year water strategy made one of its priority actions “preventing the introduction of new invasive species.” More detailed efforts on this action will be made public later this summer, when two additional parts of the strategy are released.

Through the continuation of these efforts and by tapping into the collective spirit of the entrepreneurial community, we can find and implement a permanent solution to the invasive carp threat, preserving the Great Lakes for generations to come.