On January 26th, a public hearing in Superior will determine if Wisconsin regulations regarding ballast water discharged by ships in the Great Lakes will be changed to match those required by the International Maritime Organization. This would apply to large commercial shipping vessels that travel between the Great Lakes and the ocean. As cargo loads change, the ships take on or expel water in order to stay balanced. This water can also include plants, animals and pathogens. WDNR states "Ballast water is the primary way aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussel, round goby and spiny water flea have been introduced into the Great Lakes over the last century." This proposed changed is aimed to combat the threat of invasive species.
For news and information about the Ballast Water Discharge General Permit, view the WDNR's page. For more information about the proposed changed to ballast regulations, read the WDNR news release. For general reading on Great Lakes ships and shipping visit the Water Library's recommended reading list.
Photo credit: Frank Koshere, WDNR website