Preventing new aquatic nuisance species requires harsher ballast standards from open-ocean ballast exchange in the Great Lakes Basin. New York State requires ballast water to be 100 times cleaner than the current international standards. While these standards may not aid us in friendly exchanges to Canada and other Great Lakes States, many Great Lakes area conservation groups have been disappointed at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their lack in upholding the Clean Water Act to protect and conserve the waterways of the Great Lakes and other U.S. states.
Several vessels that enter the Great Lakes have reported no ballast on board. Many argue that these vessels can still carry left over slop and sediment that can introduce aquatic nuisance species.
Concern arises to the harsher standards placed on industry groups and other states that may not be able to afford to upgrades or meet newer standards. The cost of the economic impact of alternative ballast water technologies should be weighed against the impact of aquatic nuisance species. Yet, the potential costs to ballast management technologies should be documented, researched and analyzed for both new vessels and retrofitted vessels.
Some of the well known species that have caused considerable nuisance and economic environmental impact include Zebra Mussels, Eurasian Milfoil and Water Chestnut. Many Adirondack lakes are losing their biodiversity due to Eurasian Milfoil. Each year, state agencies and non-profit groups give an honest attempt to rid each lake of this persistent species. Thus far, I have not read any articles that indicate that a lake has been completely eradicated of such a species.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Has the honest attempt in eradicating our lakes, of aquatic nuisance species, shown significant change perhaps even hope?