Save The River Kicks-Off ‘Clean Up the Ballast’ Campaign
Endorses Petition for Ocean Vessel Moratorium
Clayton, NY (April 19, 2007) - As the 2007 shipping season gets underway on the St. Lawrence Seaway, Save The River is kicking off its Clean Up the Ballast campaign by endorsing a Great Lakes United petition calling for an immediate moratorium on ocean-going ships entering the Seaway. The petition calls for a moratorium on ocean-going vessels until strong ballast protections are in place to prevent new aquatic invasive species introductions into the Great Lakes. Save The River is encouraging regional citizens and organizations to sign on to the petition at www.saltfreelakes.org.
Aquatic invasive species are one of the most significant environmental threats to the health of the River and Great Lakes. The goal of Save The River’s Clean Up the Ballast campaign is to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species by addressing the primary path for introductions – ship ballast tanks. On average, one new invasive species appears every 6 ½ months, with 183 species documented to date. Research shows that the rate of discovery of invaders in the Great Lakes is correlated with shipping activity, and is amongst the highest rates for any aquatic system in the world.
Throughout the past year, news reports have documented the impact of invasive species in our area. For example, more than 1,000 loons and other water birds washed up dead onto the shores of Lake Ontario because of a botulism outbreak in fall 2006. A muskie die-off in spring 2006 was attributed to a new fish virus, VHS. And yet another foreign species – a bright orange bug-eyed shrimp, Hemimysis anomala – was documented in the Great Lakes last fall. The shrimp is a voracious filter feeder and could seriously limit food sources for native fish.
“These invasive species are a significant threat to the River environment, our regional economy and our way of life,” stated Jennifer Caddick, Save The River’s Executive Director. “We are frustrated that the River and our communities continue to bear the burden of invasive species, while ocean-going ships continue to operate without adequate ballast treatment. Current ballast regulations are simply not doing the job and now is the time for action.”
In addition to endorsing the moratorium petition, Save The River is also ramping up its lobbying efforts urging state and federal legislators to pass strong laws that prevent invasive species introductions in to the River and Lakes. Save The River is calling on all concerned citizens and organizations to contact their legislators to urge them to pass legislation. Sample letters and background material are available on Save The River’s website at www.savetheriver.org.
For more information, contact Jennifer Caddick at (315) 686-2010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer J. Caddick
Save The River
Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper
409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624
Phone: (315) 686-2010
Cell: (315) 767-2802
Fax: (315) 686.3632