Using decision analysis to collaboratively respond to invasive species threats: A case study of Lake Erie grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 



Decisions about invasive species control and eradication can be difficult because of uncertainty in population demographics, movement ecology, and effectiveness of potential response actions. These decisions often include multiple stakeholders and management entities with potentially different objectives, management priorities, and jurisdictional authority. We provide a case study of using multi-party, collaborative decision analysis to aid decision makers in determining objectives and control actions for invasive grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in Lake Erie. Creating this process required binational (Canada-United States) and multi-state/provincial collaboration to craft a shared problem statement, establish objectives related to ecological, economic, and social concerns, determine potential response actions, and evaluate consequences and tradeoffs of these actions. We used participatory modeling and expert elicitation to evaluate the effectiveness of control scenarios that varied in action type (i.e., removal efforts and spawning barriers) and the temporal and spatial application of these actions. Using a matrix population model parameterized for western Lake Erie grass carp, we found that removal efforts concentrated in areas of high catchability, when paired with a spawning barrier on the Sandusky River, Ohio, USA, could effectively control grass carp in Lake Erie, if all assumptions are met. We determined a set of key uncertainties regarding gear catchability and current population size that have led to the transition to an adaptive management process. In addition, our work formed the basis for grass carp management plans for the states of Michigan and Ohio and has provided a means for collaboration among agencies for effective application of control efforts.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using decision analysis to collaboratively respond to invasive species threats: A case study of Lake Erie grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2020.03.018
Volume 47
Issue 1
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 12 p.
First page 108
Last page 119
Country United States
State Michigan, Ohio
Other Geospatial Lake Erie, Maumee River, River Raisin, Sandusky River
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