Court ruling could protect Great Lakes
By Mike Jackson
Daily Herald Outdoors
Published April 07, 2005
Is this another toothless court action, or are we finally
seeing some serious consideration being paid to the welfare
and future of our treasured Great Lakes?
Either way, the National Wildlife Federation has predictably
done a fine job of jumping on the bandwagon.
It’s going to be a wait-and-see situation with regard
to a recent federal court ruling ordering the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency to take action against illegal ballast
water dumping in the Great Lakes.
Lake Michigan, along with the rest of the Great Lakes,
has been saturated with unwanted, invasive aquatic critters.
Federal judge Susan Illston in effect has told EPA to
get its act together and do away with regulations giving
commercial ships a pass on their ballast water dumping.
Midwestern and national conservation-oriented organizations
have been after the federal government for some years
to take action against domestic and foreign shipping interests
regarding the ballast dumping.
Over the years, it has been reported that many of these
unwanted fish and plant species have come from the Baltic
Sea, carried through the St. Lawrence Seaway in the ballast
holds of eastern European ships.
Here’s part of the bandwagon statement from the National
Wildlife Federation: “The court’s decision leaves no doubt
that for the last three decades the EPA was wrong to exempt
ballast water discharges from permitting requirements
under the Clean Water Act. As of now, every discharge
of ballast water by every ship entering the Great Lakes
“The ruling forces federal and state governments to take
long-overdue action to regulate ballast water discharges
and to shut the door on non-native aquatic invasive species.
By neglecting its responsibilities under the Clean Water
Act, the EPA has allowed non-native aquatic invasive species
to enter the Great Lakes and cause significant environmental
and economic harm.”
The EPA’s failure to uphold its obligations under the
Clean Water Act also has hurt the shipping industry.
“It is imperative that states continue in their efforts
to set ballast water standards that are protective of
the Great Lakes so that the shipping industry knows what
technology to install to discharge clean ballast water,”
the NWF said.
“We hope that the court’s decision inspires the shipping
industry to devote its energies to developing ballast
water treatment technologies so that they can uphold their
responsibility to protect the Great Lakes from biological
Great angling abounds:
Fox Chain: Excellent crappie fishing is on Lake Marie,
Channel Lake, Petite and Fox Lakes. The same holds true
for Pistakee Lake. Improved walleye action on Nippersink
Fox River: Good walleye catches below the McHenry Dame
on jig-and-minnow combos. Smallmouth have shown up again
below the Algonquin Dam.
Lake Michigan: Coho action has started in earnest, especially
off Diversey and Montrose Harbors. Brown trout activity
continues at Northpoint and Waukegan.
Forest Preserves: In Cook County, Skokie Lagoon has gotten
off to an excellent start with nice bluegills and chunky
crappies being taken. In DuPage, Mallard Lake panfish
have finally come alive.
Muskie meeting: It’s open to anyone who would like to
come along and dine on some good food. And you may even
learn a few things about muskie fishing.
The Fox River Valley chapter of Muskies Inc. is hosting
its 2005 spring awards banquet. The event takes place
at Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale. Rich Gallagher
is the point man for the banquet; you can reach him via
e-mail at email@example.com.
•Readers may contact Mike Jackson via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
and catch his outdoors radio show 6-7 am. Sundays on WSBC