187 invasive species at last count, including: zebra mussels, goby, sea lamprey, rusty crayfish, white perch, flowering rush, and more.
The third largest freshwater lake on the planet has been invaded by numerous exotic species over the last century. A new documentary film produced by Grand Valley State University faculty and students explores the threat to the ecosystem and some innovative solutions.
Produced by documentary filmmaker, John Schmit, the film has been in the making for more than two years. It tells the history of exotic species invasions in Lake Huron and describes other invaders looming on the horizon. Biologists from around the Great Lakes describe the invaders, such as the sea lamprey, alewife, zebra mussel, quagga mussel, goby, and killer amphipod, the damage they have caused, and efforts to manage Lake Huron’s ecosystem and multi-million dollar fisheries. The film crew also followed DNR biologists out on the lake for their annual survey of fish populations. The result is a mix of good news and bad news, but the main concern is preventing another wave of invasions through Great Lakes shipping channels.
“At last count, there were 187 invasive species, with a new one just about every year,” said Jim Johnson, a research biologist and manager of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Alpena Fishery Research Station. “I felt this was a story that needed to be shared with the people of Michigan, of the Great Lakes region, and with all who cherish these amazing freshwater resources.”
Having worked on Lake Huron for more than 20 years, Johnson connected Schmit and his crew with dozens of people whose lives are closely linked to the lake, including an international group of biologists known as the Lake Huron Technical Committee, who share fishery and resource management responsibilities for Lake Huron, and influential resource managers such as Dr. Howard Tanner, who has served as both Chief of Fisheries and Director of the DNR, and remains a member of the Lake Huron Citizen Fishery Advisory Committee.
“Hopefully, an informed citizenry will use the information from the film to help influence the legislative and regulatory agencies’ current debate on ballast water management,” said Johnson.
Written, Directed and Produced by
In cooperation with
The GVSU Nature Documentary Class, 2008
Running Time: 56 minutes
• Classroom Versions:
Focus on Invaders [28 min.]
Focus on DNR Field Research [23 min.]
• Making of “Lake Invaders”