Aquatic Restoration Initiative

With AIS and climate change impacting the future of the Great Lakes, there is an opportunity to enhance a more diverse and resilient native ecosystem in the Eastern Lake Ontario region. Today, there are strict laws in place for ballast water dumping, transporting invasive species knowingly and extensive efforts underway to educate recreational boaters on preventing the spread of AIS to un-infested waters through the NYS Watercraft Inspection Steward Program, which teaches boaters to “Clean, Drain, Dry” their equipment. These efforts are important but without innovative and restorative plans being implemented, unintended negative anthropogenic impacts will continue to destabilize this system.

As a result, SLELO PRISM initiated the new Aquatic Restoration Initiative beginning in 2020 which will continue through 2023. 

2020 ARI Phase I

Aquatic and Riparian Invasive Species Inventory and Habitat Assessment

The first phase of this initiative began our “Aquatic and Riparian Invasive Species Inventory and Habitat Assessment.” The assessment focused on three select tributaries that may be impacted by aquatic and riparian invasive species. The study was completed to also gain a better understanding of the presence of species such as; non-native crayfish, gobies, and mussels; macrophytes such as fanwort, water hyacinth, and hydrilla; and near shore plant species, like Japanese knotweed, common reed, and oriental bittersweet. The results of the assessment identified the most deserving areas in need of eradication, suppression, restoration, or management of invasive species and the need for restoration, and serves as the foundation for this project. 

To scale-up this initiative, this work will focus on building partnerships with organizations within NYS and the Great Lakes Region and information will be disseminated to any interested parties through outreach and educational resources. Any partners interested in this work can contact Brittney Rogers for more information.

Click the image below to view the Phase I Final Report.

2021 ARI Phase II 

It is the desire of the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO PRISM) to continue the Aquatic Restoration Initiative, developed in 2020. The management and restoration will focus on select areas that were found to be impacted by aquatic invasive species such as water chestnut and near shore plant species, like Japanese knotweed, phragmites, and purple loosestrife that may affect associated habitat. 

The results of the 2020 assessment identified the most deserving areas in need of eradication/suppression, restoration, and management, and served as the foundation for this initiative. 


Photos from the Field

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Rob Williams rwilliams@tnc.org 
PRISM Coordinator

Megan Pistolese megan.pistolese@tnc.org 
Outreach and Education

Brittney Rogers brittney.rogers@tnc.org 
Aquatic Invasive Species

Robert Smith robert.l.smith@tnc.org 
Terrestrial Invasive Species

Zachary Simek zachary.simek@TNC.ORG Conservation and GIS Analyst

During this time the best way to contact our team is via email.