Monday, September 24, 2012

USACE Releases Aquatic Pathways Assessment Summary Report

Sep 14: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently released the Focus Area 2 Aquatic Pathways Assessment Summary Report. The report presents the methodology and key evidence used to assess the potential for transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins through several aquatic pathways. A total of 18 potential aquatic pathway reports, and one report for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, are being released in phases, by state, as part of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), Focus Area 2. The initial Summary Report provides a summary of the individual reports (i.e. pathways) to be completed and released in phases. Comments are being accepted through October 14, 2012.

    The overall objective of the Focus Area 2 portion of GLMRIS is to produce an interim report for each potential aquatic pathway that is found between the two basins. Each report evaluates key evidence from the available information to qualitatively estimate the likelihood of an aquatic pathway forming and ANS being able to utilize it to reach the adjacent basin. Included in many of these pathway assessments, and included in the summary report, are some potential actions or opportunities that were identified that might prevent or reduce the probability of ANS transfer occurring between the basins. The reports are the next step in a tiered approach to assess the risk associated with the spread of ANS between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins.

    The USACE identified interested parties and solicited input early in the process for Focus Area 2 and has included individual visits and discussions with the state agencies responsible for water resources, and fish and wildlife management in the eight states bordering the Great Lakes. The process used for the Focus Area 2 assessments has also been discussed in meetings with representatives of the Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

    Access a release from GLMRIS with commenting instructions (click here). Access the 117-page Pathways Assessment Summary Report (click here). Access the schedule chart for the release of various reports and commenting (click here).

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