Over 180 exotic species are now found in the Great Lakes, including:


    • Zebra Mussels
    • Spiny Water Flea
    • Faucet Snail
    • Banded Mystery Snail
    • New Zealand Mudsnail
    • Rusty Crayfish
    • Asian Clam


    • Sea Lamprey
    • Round Goby
    • Alewife
    • Eurasian Ruffe
    • Grass Carp
    • White Perch
    • Rudd


    • Eurasian Watermilfoil
    • Brazilian Elodea
    • Purple Loosestrife
    • Curlyleaf Pondweed
    • Hydrilla
    • European Frogbit
    • Water Chestnut


What can be done?

Measures have been taken to reduce the importation of exotic species by ships. The general public is asked to help prevent their spread as part of the “Be a Hero: Transport Zero” campaign. Remove any plants or animals attached to your gear. Drain and allow your equipment to dry completely before using at another location and never release live organisms into the wild. For more information, visit:  www.transportzero.org and takeaim.org


  • Asian Clam

  • Zebra Mussel on native Lilliput mussel

  • Mystery Snail

  • Mystery Snail

  • Mystery Snail

  • Round Goby

  • Hydrilla

  • Grass Carp

Aquatic invasive species

  • damage natural areas
  • decrease native biodiversity
  • introducing disease to wild populations
  • change how the ecosystems function
  • decrease recreational opportunities such as fishing and hiking
  • harm human and livestock health
  • impede electricity production and drinking water distribution by clogging pipes
  • are expensive to control
  • are often impossible to eradicate



  Case study: The Zebra Mussel

Zebra Mussels in pipe.jpg

  • introduced into the Great Lakes in 1986 from bilge water in ships 
  • originally from the Black/Caspian Seas 
  • rapid colonization rates
  • filter phytoplankton needed by juvenile sportfish
  • caused declines of native bivalves and other invertebrate species
  • cause millions of dollars in damage to equipment and infrastructure by clogging pipes and motors


For more information read "Illinois Beach State Park and North Point Marina: Including the Dead River and Kellogg Creek Watersheds."

Lake Michigan Biological Station