Thursday, March 12, 2009

$1 Million In FY09 Budget For Invasive Species Program

Mar 12: According to a release from the Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMW), the FY 09 Omnibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 1105), approved by Congress and signed by the President, includes nearly $1 million in new funds toward preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. The funds go to the Great Ships Initiative (GSI), a collaborative effort to hasten shipping free of invasive species on the Great Lakes.

Managed and implemented cooperatively by the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the University of Wisconsin Superior, GSI generates much needed independent evaluations of proposed ballast treatments performance and toxicity in fresh water. As regulatory authorities gear up to require ballast treatment prior to discharge into natural waters, the research outcomes are of keen interest regionally, domestically and internationally. As a result of this broad interest, the GSI works collaboratively with state and Federal agencies in the United States to generate important information for regulatory decision-making, and with international maritime groups to evaluate treatment effectiveness.

Meanwhile, NEMW reports that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set deadlines for treatment systems to be operated by ships to a numeric performance standard, but there has been little or no testing in fresh water. Proposed treatment systems include ozone, ultra violet irradiation, chemical additives, deoxygenation, and filtration, usually in some combination. The new funds will help the Great Ships Initiative evaluate promising treatments during the 2009 testing season.

Access a release from NEMW (click here). Access legislative details on H.R. 1105 (click here).