1
Introduction

The Laurentian Great Lakes—Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario—are the world’s largest reservoir of freshwater, with the exception of the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Comprising almost one-fifth of the global supply of freshwater, the Great Lakes cover a total area of 94,000 square miles (244,000 km2) with a shoreline of approximately 10,500 miles (17,000 km).

Unlike the polar ice caps, the Great Lakes provide drinking water for the more than 33 million people living in the 300,000 square miles (750,000 km2) of watershed. They are also vital to the economy of the region, supplying hydroelectric power, supporting industries and commercial enterprises, and providing waterborne transportation for both people and goods. The Great Lakes’ commercial and sport fishery, for example, is valued at $4 billion (Great Lakes Information Network n.d.), and the region supports a multibillion-dollar recreational and tourism industry. The Great Lakes are also fundamental to the region’s culture and history. The basin’s water and other resources have played a major role in the history and development of both Canada and the United States, and the basin is now home to one-fourth of the Canadian population and more than one-tenth of the U.S. population (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Government of Canada 1995).

Perhaps not surprisingly, human activities have imposed numerous stresses on the Great Lakes basin’s ecological integrity. These stresses include cultural eutrophication, an accelerated process of nutrient and sediment concentration in a body of water caused by excessive human activity; toxic contaminants, such as heavy metals and synthetic organic chemicals; overfishing; habitat destruction;



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 7
1 Introduction The Laurentian Great Lakes—Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario—are the world’s largest reservoir of freshwater, with the exception of the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Comprising almost one-fifth of the global supply of freshwater, the Great Lakes cover a total area of 94,000 square miles (244,000 km2) with a shoreline of approximately 10,500 miles (17,000 km). Unlike the polar ice caps, the Great Lakes provide drinking water for the more than 33 million people living in the 300,000 square miles (750,000 km2) of watershed. They are also vital to the economy of the region, supplying hydroelectric power, supporting industries and commercial enterprises, and providing waterborne trans- portation for both people and goods. The Great Lakes’ commercial and sport fishery, for example, is valued at $4 billion (Great Lakes Information Network n.d.), and the region supports a multibillion- dollar recreational and tourism industry. The Great Lakes are also fundamental to the region’s culture and history. The basin’s water and other resources have played a major role in the history and de- velopment of both Canada and the United States, and the basin is now home to one-fourth of the Canadian population and more than one-tenth of the U.S. population (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Government of Canada 1995). Perhaps not surprisingly, human activities have imposed numer- ous stresses on the Great Lakes basin’s ecological integrity. These stresses include cultural eutrophication, an accelerated process of nutrient and sediment concentration in a body of water caused by excessive human activity; toxic contaminants, such as heavy metals and synthetic organic chemicals; overfishing; habitat destruction; 7

OCR for page 7
8 Great Lakes Shipping, Trade, and Aquatic Invasive Species and the introduction of nonnative species of animals and plants. Billions of dollars and uncounted hours have been spent in ad- dressing these and other stresses and their impacts on the Great Lakes ecosystem. Given that the Great Lakes form a single system of intercon- nected lakes and rivers, it is widely acknowledged that many of the stresses imposed on the system by human activity can only be addressed effectively on a systemwide basis (see, for example, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Government of Canada 1995). The Great Lakes system of governance, however, is frag- mented among the agencies, offices, and organizations of two federal governments; eight states; two provinces; and myriad mu- nicipalities, local governments, and aboriginal peoples. As a re- sult, it has been suggested that the institutional capacity to halt either new or reemerging stresses is lacking (International Joint Commission 2003). This report focuses on one of the many stresses imposed on the Great Lakes by human activity: the introduction of aquatic inva- sive species (AIS) through maritime trade. Also referred to as in- troduced, alien, exotic, nonnative, or nonindigenous, an invasive species, which may be aquatic or terrestrial, is defined as one trans- ported by human activity into a region where it did not occur in historical time and where it is now established in the wild. Not all introduced species are invasive, in the sense of being harmful, very abundant, or spreading rapidly. However, the term “AIS” has been widely adopted by the press, politicians, and the public, and for that reason it is used throughout this report, except in quoting sources that use alternative terminology. Recent reports estimate the number of AIS in the Great Lakes at more than 180, including algae, fish, invertebrates, and plants (Ricciardi 2006). There are many agents, or vectors, by which such species enter the Great Lakes, including commercial shipping, recreational boating, angling or bait fishing, aquaculture, commer- cial and home aquaria, water gardens, canals, and rivers. The focus of this report is commercial shipping, and in particular vessels tran- siting the St. Lawrence Seaway.

OCR for page 7
Introduction 9 AIS AND SEAWAY SHIPPING Following the discovery of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in Lake St. Clair1 in 1988, the highly visible effects of this species’ invasion of the Great Lakes drew public attention to an age-old phenomenon, namely, the unintentional carriage of organisms to new locations by ships. The zebra mussel was by no means the first AIS to enter the Great Lakes on board a ship, but its explosive pop- ulation growth resulted in clogged water pipes, drains, and vents and damage to docks, boats, power generation facilities, and water treatment plants. In addition, large numbers of zebra mussels washed ashore and rotted on Great Lakes beaches, leaving a foul odor and sharp-edged shells. There is considerable uncertainty about the economic impact of the zebra mussel invasion, but the costs of zebra mussel cleanup during the period since 1989 are estimated to be at least US$1 billion.2 The AIS problem is not unique to the Great Lakes. More than 50 AIS have been reported in San Francisco Bay since 1970, for ex- ample. Further afield, Australian ports have been invaded by the North Pacific sea star (Asterias amurensis) from Japan, and a car- nivorous North American comb jellyfish has invaded and con- tributed to massive fisheries losses in the Black and Caspian Seas (NRC 1996; Shiganova et al. 2001; Kideys 2002). However, the Great Lakes differ from many other regions experiencing ship- mediated AIS introductions because of their freshwater ecosystem and the distinctive patterns of maritime trade to, from, and within the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway (GLSLS) system.3 The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 is widely rec- ognized as having provided a route into the Great Lakes not only for trade but also for ship-vectored introductions of AIS. While a trade corridor along the St. Lawrence River and into the Great 1 Lake St. Clair, together with the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, connects Lake Huron and Lake Erie. 2 Zebra Mussel Economic Impacts, 1989–2006. Presentation to the committee by Chuck O’Neill, Cornell University/New York Sea Grant, May 24, 2006. 3 The GLSLS system stretches from Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the western shore of Lake Superior.

OCR for page 7
10 Great Lakes Shipping, Trade, and Aquatic Invasive Species Lakes has been in use since the earliest days of European settlement in North America, the modern seaway, built to facilitate interna- tional maritime trade into the North American heartland, allows deep-draft oceangoing vessels from all over the world to enter the Great Lakes carrying not only freight but also aquatic species loaded along with ballast water at previous ports of call. This bal- last water is used to increase a vessel’s draft, change its trim, regu- late its stability, and maintain stress loads within acceptable limits, and it is essential for safe operations (NRC 1996). During the 20 years since the discovery of the zebra mussel in Lake St. Clair, research has led to a greater understanding of the mechanisms by which AIS enter the Great Lakes, both in ships’ ballast water and by other means. Ballasting practices that pose a risk of introducing AIS have been identified, with particular em- phasis on the trade patterns of transoceanic vessels entering the Great Lakes from outside of the Canadian and U.S. exclusive eco- nomic zones. The geographic origins of many of the AIS found in the Great Lakes have been identified, as have a number of “high- risk” species likely to invade in the future. While forecasts of future invaders are far from infallible, a mysid shrimp native to the Black Sea (Hemimysis anomala) was identified as having a high risk of in- troduction into the Great Lakes several years before its discovery in Lakes Michigan and Ontario in 2006 (Ricciardi and Rasmussen 1998; Grigorovich et al. 2003). Research on the science of AIS in- troductions into the Great Lakes has been accompanied by efforts to develop science-based ballast water management practices and tech- nologies that can be used by ships to prevent such introductions and by the promulgation of regulations requiring certain ships entering the Great Lakes to undertake ballast water management measures. Despite these various efforts, reports of new AIS introductions into the Great Lakes continue.4 Recent invaders include the mysid shrimp, Hemimysis anomala, and an amphipod, Gammarus tigrinus. 4 As discussed in Chapter 3, there may be a considerable time lag between the introduction of a new AIS and reports of its discovery.

OCR for page 7
Introduction 11 Of course, not all AIS are introduced into the Great Lakes by ves- sels transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway. Nonetheless, such vessels have historically been a major source of AIS introductions since the waterway opened in 1959. Hence, seaway shipping continues to be a focal point for many of the efforts aimed at eliminating further AIS introductions into the Great Lakes. Canada and the United States have not been alone in their ef- forts to understand and prevent ship-vectored AIS introductions. For example, in 2001, Australia introduced mandatory ballast water management requirements to reduce the risk of introducing harmful aquatic organisms into the nation’s marine environment through ships’ ballast water (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service 2007). And in 2004, after more than 10 years of prepara- tory work, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (IMO 2004). This convention, which has yet to be ratified by the necessary quorum of the world’s maritime nations, aims to “prevent, minimize and ultimately elim- inate the risks to the environment, human health, property and re- sources arising from the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens via ships’ ballast water” (Gollasch et al. 2007, 586). The ballast water control and management regulations contained in the Canada Shipping Act of 2006 include ballast water standards identical to those proposed in the IMO convention. The United States has yet to update its invasive species legislation, which was first enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1996, although draft leg- islation is currently before Congress. Frustration at the delays in passing U.S. federal legislation aimed at preventing further AIS in- troductions appears to be an important factor driving some groups to act on their own or in concert with others. The state of Michigan has established its own ballast water legislation, and other Great Lakes states are considering following suit. A coalition of environ- mental groups has called for a moratorium on oceangoing vessels using the seaway until Congress establishes effective ballast water discharge standards, and others are seeking to have ballast water discharges regulated under the U.S. Clean Water Act.

OCR for page 7
12 Great Lakes Shipping, Trade, and Aquatic Invasive Species CHARGE TO THE COMMITTEE In the above context, the Great Lakes Protection Fund asked the Transportation Research Board and the Water Science and Tech- nology Board of the National Academies to convene an expert com- mittee to identify and explore options for the Great Lakes region that would meet two criteria: (a) enhance the potential for global trade in the Great Lakes region and (b) eliminate further intro- ductions of nonindigenous aquatic species into the Great Lakes by vessels transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway.5 The committee was tasked with developing a range of practical and technically feasible options that would meet these criteria. In its final report, the committee was to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the options identified and suggest approaches that appear most promising for more detailed evaluation and possible implementation. COMMITTEE’S APPROACH Consideration of the two project criteria led the committee to ob- serve that the requirements to enhance the potential for trade and eliminate further AIS introductions are very different in both nature and scope. The subject of economic development and ensuing trade is broad in scope, and a region’s potential for global trade is influenced by a multitude of forces, both within the region and out- side it. The requirement to enhance the Great Lakes region’s poten- tial for global trade is a broad mandate without specific directives. In contrast, the requirement to eliminate further AIS introductions is an absolute and narrow requirement addressing a specific vector (shipping) and a single route (the St. Lawrence Seaway). Identifying options that meet both project criteria simultane- ously proved to be a key component of the committee’s task and involved assessing the extent to which efforts to enhance the Great 5 The committee’s task statement uses the term “nonindigenous aquatic species” in place of “AIS.”

OCR for page 7
Introduction 13 Lakes region’s potential for global trade are likely to be influenced by efforts to eliminate further ship-vectored AIS introductions. For example, imposing additional regulatory requirements on vessels entering the seaway could adversely affect trade by excluding those vessels unwilling or unable to comply. Nonetheless, the influence of such policies may not be major. A government with numerous protective tariffs and quotas, for example, would find it difficult to enhance global trade, regardless of its policies for preventing AIS introductions. With these observations in mind, the committee undertook a series of activities to gather the data necessary to inform its devel- opment of future options for the Great Lakes region. It held two initial information-gathering meetings, one in Washington, D.C., in May 2006 and one in Toronto, Ontario, in August 2006 (see Ap- pendix A). At these meetings, a series of invited presentations from experts and stakeholders helped establish what actions are currently being undertaken to prevent further ship-vectored AIS introductions into the Great Lakes and enhance the region’s potential for global trade. In conjunction with its August 2006 meeting in Toronto, the committee visited two locations on the GLSLS system, the Welland Canal and the Port of Hamilton. Armed with the information gathered from these meetings and site visits and from its background reading, the committee com- missioned a series of expert papers on topics relating to the two project criteria (see Appendix B). Some of the papers focused on clarifying the current state of knowledge, while others explored op- portunities to catalyze changes aimed at enhancing the Great Lakes region’s potential for global trade while preventing further AIS in- troductions by vessels transiting the seaway. At its third meeting, held in Irvine, California, in February 2007, the committee met with the authors of the commissioned papers to review their progress, discuss the major messages of their draft papers, and provide guid- ance for completing the drafts. The first day of the committee’s fourth meeting, which was held in Toronto in May 2007, was devoted to a public meeting, Aquatic Invaders and Global Trade: Options for the Great Lakes Region.

OCR for page 7
14 Great Lakes Shipping, Trade, and Aquatic Invasive Species The primary purpose of the meeting was for the committee to gain a better understanding of stakeholder views about possible ap- proaches to meeting the two project criteria. To this end, partici- pants were invited to suggest solutions and to comment on a variety of actions that might be taken. The 34 meeting guests represented Canadian and U.S. federal and provincial or state government agen- cies, environmental groups, private-sector organizations (including the shipping industry and developers of ballast water treatment technologies), and academia (see Appendix C). To help inform the discussions, the authors of the commissioned papers spoke briefly about their work. The remainder of the fourth meeting and most of the fifth and final committee meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C., in July 2007, were devoted to committee deliberations and develop- ment of the conclusions and recommendations of this report. ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT The next chapter provides a brief historical overview of the St. Lawrence Seaway and discusses the waterway’s management, operations, and financing. Historical trends in seaway traffic are summarized, and some of the factors likely to influence the wa- terway’s future role within the larger Great Lakes transportation system are identified. After a brief overview of the history of AIS introductions in the Great Lakes, Chapter 3 summarizes the role of ships’ ballast water in introducing AIS and examines briefly the impacts of AIS introductions with reference to both high- profile and less studied invaders. The difficulties in interpreting historical trends in such introductions are then discussed in the context of efforts to assess the effectiveness of prevention mea- sures. Chapter 4 identifies the categories of vessel using the sea- way and discusses each briefly. The ballast water management requirements for vessels entering the GLSLS system are then summarized. Chapter 5 describes the committee’s approach to identifying and exploring options for the Great Lakes region that

OCR for page 7
Introduction 15 would meet the two project criteria. Candidate actions for meet- ing each criterion are examined, and ways of combining these ac- tions to meet both criteria simultaneously are then considered. The final chapter discusses the committee’s conclusions about two alternative options for the Great Lakes region. It then describes the committee’s recommended option and the actions necessary to implement this option. REFERENCES Abbreviations IMO International Maritime Organization NRC National Research Council Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. 2007. Australian Ballast Water Manage- ment Requirements, Version 3, June 1. www.daff.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/ 104807/Australian_BW_Requirements.pdf. Gollasch, G., M. David, M. Voigt, E. Dragsund, C. Hewitt, and Y. Fukuyo. 2007. Critical Review of the IMO International Convention on the Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. Harmful Algae, Vol. 6, pp. 585–600. Great Lakes Information Network. n.d. Great Lakes Fish and Fishing. www.great-lakes.net/ teach/envt/fish/fish_1.html. Grigorovich, I. A., R. I. Colautti, E. L. Mills, K. Holeck, A. G. Ballert, and H. J. MacIsaac. 2003. Ballast-Mediated Animal Introductions in the Laurentian Great Lakes: Retro- spective and Prospective Analyses. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 60, pp. 740–756. IMO. 2004. International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. London, United Kingdom. International Joint Commission. 2003. Priorities 2001–2003: Priorities and Progress Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Science Advisory Board, Chapter 5. www.ijc.org/php/publications/pdf/ID1568.pdf. Kideys, A. E. 2002. Fall and Rise of the Black Sea Ecosystem. Science, Vol. 297, pp. 1482–1484. NRC. 1996. Stemming the Tide: Controlling Introductions of Nonindigenous Species by Ships’ Ballast Water. National Academy Press, Washington D.C. Ricciardi, A. 2006. Patterns of Invasion in the Laurentian Great Lakes in Relation to Changes in Vector Activity. Diversity and Distributions, Vol. 12, pp. 425–433.

OCR for page 7
16 Great Lakes Shipping, Trade, and Aquatic Invasive Species Ricciardi, A., and J. B. Rasmussen. 1998. Predicting the Identity and Impact of Future Bi- ological Invaders: A Priority for Aquatic Resource Management. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 55, pp. 1759–1765. Shiganova, T. A., A. M. Kamakin, O. P. Zhukova, V. B. Ushivtsev, A. B. Dulimov, and E. I. Musaeva. 2001. The Invader into the Caspian Sea Ctenophore Mnemiopsis and Its Initial Effect on the Pelagic Ecosystem. Oceanology, Vol. 41, pp. 517–524. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Government of Canada. 1995. The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book (3rd ed.). www.epa.gov/glnpo/atlas/ index.html.