Thursday, May 24, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joel Brammeier --(312)939-0838 x224
Wisconsin Urged to Protect Waters against Invasives
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin cant afford to wait another day to stop contaminated ballast discharges from destroying the states revered outdoor way of life, the Alliance for the Great Lakes testified before a state congressional committee in Madison Wednesday.
Appearing before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, the Alliances Joel Brammeier urged lawmakers to exercise the states authority to protect Wisconsin waters from foreign biological pollutants by regulating the ballast water discharges of oceangoing ships.
Invasive species continue to flood into Wisconsin waters, warned Brammeier, Alliance associate director for policy. Like a burglar, each of these invaders breaks the glass and ransacks your house. Whats left behind is an ecosystem stripped of its value with no insurance to cover the damage.
Two bills, Senate Bill 119 and Assembly Bill 86, have been introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature. The bills would give the state authority to require oceangoing ships to carry a permit certifying they will not discharge aquatic invasive species, or will apply technology to prevent the introduction of such species.
Brammeier said the legislation fills a critical gap by halting oceangoing ships from continuing the unregulated discharge of invaders. Michigan last year became the first state to enact similar legislation.
Invasives are on the move in the Great Lakes, with as many as 185 now recorded and a new non-native species discovered every 28 weeks on average.
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported that fish from Little Lake Butte de Morts were infected with viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS. The virus, which causes massive fatal bleeding in popular game fish and is described as an ebola-like virus for fish, is responsible for fish kills in eastern Great Lakes such as Lake Erie and Lake Huron.
Brammeier noted that another recent invasive, the bloody red shrimp, has been found in multiple locations and is likely spreading throughout the Great Lakes. The New Zealand mudsnail has now spread to Superior Harbor.
Any of these invasions should be enough to set off alarm bells, he testified.
Alliance for the Great Lakes