Sen. Proos co-sponsors Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week resolution

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution declaring June 8-16 as Aquatic Invasive Species Week, said Sen. John Proos, who co-sponsored the measure.

“The most important step in protecting the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species is to engage the public about the real threat these species pose to the health of the lakes and our entire state economy,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “At a time when families and tourists are beginning to get out and enjoy Michigan waters, this awareness week is an opportunity for everyone to stand up against the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.”

Senate Resolution 71 states that more than 180 nonindigenous aquatic invasive species have been introduced to the Great Lakes, many of which are displacing native species; disrupting habitats; and degrading natural, managed and agricultural landscapes — resulting in millions of dollars for control efforts each year.

“Stopping the invasion of aquatic invasive species like Asian carp and eliminating other species already here are both critical to maintaining our way of life,” Proos said. “These are battles we cannot afford to lose because the impact could be environmental and economic catastrophes.”

SR 71 encourages residents to increase their understanding and awareness of aquatic invasive species and their ecological and economic impacts, and to take preventative measures to help stop the spread and introduction of the species in Michigan.

“As a member of a local fishing club and a competitor in many local competitions, the threat of invasive species — especially Asian carp and zebra mussels — is always on my mind. These species have the potential to devastate our ecosystems, fishing industry and the livelihoods of many Michigan families,” said Dan Posey of the Four Flags Bassmasters Club in Niles. “Safety is also an issue raised by invasive carp, since boat traffic causes these fish to leap out of the water. At up to 100 pounds, Asian carp can be dangerous and have a real potential for injuring boaters, and that should be a serious concern to us all.” 

Proos said that residents can see what is at stake by attending a local fishing tournament. The 2013 Four Flags Open Tournament Series includes upcoming competitions on Diamond Lake, Magician Lake/Sister lakes, Corey/Harwood lakes and Klinger Lake.

Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at Click on “Podcasts.”