Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are having negative impacts and reversing recent progress made towards ecological rehabilitation and restoration in the Mississippi River Basin. The Mississippi River Basin has been greatly impacted by many AIS and continues to be threatened by new introductions. The most problematic AIS in the Mississippi River Basin have been bighead carp, silver carp, common carp, zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, hydrilla, giant salvinia, Brazilian elodea, purple loosestrife, and water hyacinth. There are a number of other threats within the Mississippi River Basin that have the potential to cause large impacts in the future including species such as black carp, northern snakehead, didymo (rock snot), quagga mussels and the pathogen viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS).
AIS enter and spread within the United States through multiple pathways such as ship ballast-water discharge; canals and connecting waterways; escape from aquaculture facilities; aquarium and live bait releases; horticultural and water garden aquatic plant sales and use; attachment to barges; and attachment to boats, trailers and other water/outdoor recreation equipment.
A basin-wide approach is needed to manage these threats, and to protect and restore the Mississippi River Basin. To this end, MICRA developed an Action Plan to Minimize Ecological Impacts of Aquatic Invasive Species in the Mississippi River Basin (see the Action Plan brochure) to guide coordinated efforts to prevent additional species invasions, and to contain and control populations of priority AIS established in the Mississippi River Basin. The Action Plan will focus the collaborative efforts of the Mississippi River Basin states to implement a strategic, action-oriented approach to minimize risks of AIS introductions by working with partners to sever pathways and to implement an integrated pest management approach to contain and control AIS.