Professor Sandra Cooke
19 March 2010
Invasive Species Policy: The Fight Against the Common Enemy
Every environmental policy implemented in the modern world has its pros and cons. The regulations and restrictions imposed by them always run the risk of altering ecosystems, which includes the introduction of foreign species into certain habitats. Policies dealing with invasive species face various problems that jeopardize the chances of their success. Examples of this that Peters and Lodge (2009) give are inconsistent implementation across different regions and failure to regulate certain nonnative organisms before they harm their surroundings. These two issues are very pertinent to Eurasian watermilfoil because of the extent to which it has spread across North America and the ways in which it has spread.
Because Eurasian watermilfoil can be found in the majority of the fifty states and in several Canadian provinces, it is imperative that the United States and Canada cooperate to devise and impose legislation to control this aquatic plant before it irreversibly harms ecosystems. This cooperation is necessary because without the support of both countries, any such legislation will fail to manage or even eradicate the watermilfoil from the inland bodies of water in which it is established, making these regulations useless. Also, the milfoil has spread via many human processes such as fishing or boating. This means that people can help prevent further dispersal of this aquatic plant to untouched waters. It is clear that human participation in and compliance with the imposed restrictions can make or break legislative watermilfoil control; nevertheless, regulation agencies can better inform the general public through various means, like informative pamphlets and signs. With international, interstate, and “inter-human” cooperation, there is hope to manage and possibly eliminate Eurasian watermilfoil successfully as an aquatic threat.
Peters JA, DM Lodge. 2009. Invasive Species Policy at the Regional Level: A Multiple Weak Links Problem. Fisheries 34:373-381.