Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

Editorial: Half steps not good enough for lakes
Detroit Free Press
Posted January 28, 2008

Swishing out ballast tanks with salt water is a helpful measure in the fight against foreign species invading the Great Lakes. But it won't deter every menace, and Michigan must keep pressing for more extensive solutions.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. announced this month that no ship can enter without a saltwater rinse of its tanks at least 200 miles out into the ocean. The rule is aimed at ships that enter without ballast water but often have puddles of sludge from previous trips lodged in the nooks of the otherwise "empty" tanks. That sludge can contain a potent load of troublesome eggs, larvae and plants just waiting to be revived in freshwater.

A University of Michigan study has shown that saltwater rinses can cut back appreciably on the number of organisms that survive. Ships that contain ballast water already must follow a protocol for exchanging their ballast water at sea before they reach the seaway.

The salt water cuts down considerably on the number of freshwater organisms that survive the trip, and it is freshwater species that pose the danger here. Zebra mussels, initially released here, have now spread as far as California.

As welcome as the Seaway's new rule is, it also poses a danger that Congress will take it as an excuse to slack off on ordering complete water treatment. Shippers may use it to evade the threat of a lawsuit from the National Wildlife Federation, which continues in discussions on the subject.

Another recent study shows some hull-clinging organisms may survive an oceanic voyage, suggesting even ballast water treatment may not suffice. But that is surely a lesser problem. In the fight to get ships to stop dumping foreign species here, Congress has to get beyond every half-measure and distraction.


This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map