Clean up the Ballast

Aquatic invasive species are one of the biggest threats to River health today. Save The River's Clean-Up the Ballast Campaign is focused on stopping aquatic invasive species introductions by tackling the primary source - ship ballast tanks.

The Link Between Ship Ballast and Invasive Species Introductions

imageMore than 186 aquatic invasive species have been documented in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River system. And, A new invasive species introduction is reported in the Great Lakes every 6 1/2 months, the highest rate of introductions for any ecosystem with long-term data.

Since 1959, when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened the River and Lakes to direct ocean-going shipping, 65% of species discovered have been attributed to ballast water release. Scientists have shown that the rate of discovery of invaders is directly correlated with shipping activity.

Economic Impact of Aquatic Invasive Species

The cost to the regional economy from invasive species is estimated to be billions of dollars per year. The cost of zebra and quagga mussel control alone is estimated at $500 million per year over the next five years.

Clean Up the Ballast Campaign

Save The River is working to clean up ship ballast tanks in two ways:

  • Legislation - Save The River has been advocating at the federal and state level for stringent ballast regulations for all ships transiting the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River.
  • Moratorium - Save The River has joined the call for an immediate moratorium on salties until strong ballast protections are in place to prevent new aquatic invasive species introductions. To learn more visit

Latest News

Its National Invasive Species Awareness Week
Last year New York State took a step forward to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and to protect our waters. Beginning August 2015 all boats and floating docks launched in New York State must be clean of plant or animal matter. The intent of the new law is to prevent the spread of invasive species from one waterbody to another. read more

Its What We, With Our Members & Followers, Do
From this morning's Watertown Daily Times: "This weekend, Save the River will hold its annual winter meeting . . . As the conference attendees listen to the panels and enjoy the raw frozen beauty of the St. Lawrence in midwinter from a first-class hotel, it is time to send a strong message to Washington. The International Joint Commission’s lake level plan must be adopted . . . Save the River should remind U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik and U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand about the importance of this work to New York." We do and with over 5,000 members and followers, we think it is a message they should listen to. read more

Action Alert: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014
The GLRI Act of 2014 would formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years at up to $300 million annually. The bill will ensure that this successful program continues to clean up toxic pollutants, restore fish and wildlife habitat, fight invasive species, and reduce nutrient pollution throughout the Great Lakes region. The GLRI has produced impressive results, but there is still work to be done. Please help support a vital piece of legislation that will keep restoration efforts on track! read more

Ontario Re-Introduces Invasive Species Legislation
Save The River applauds Ontario for taking action to protect communities from invasive species through prevention, early detection, rapid response and eradication of invasive species in the province. read more

55th Anniversary of the Seaway Opening
A lot has changed since then, but our water levels plan has not. Let’s hope this is the last anniversary with the outdated, destructive plan in place read more

February 23-28 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week
Aquatic invasive species are one of the most critical problems facing the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. With 186 species introduced into the River and Lakes, the region's ecosystem is bending under the weight of these introduced species. Some scientists worry that the ecosystem of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River may be close to collapse because of these species. The damage done by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year. read more

New Seaway chief Betty Sutton seeks economic, green balance.
That’s the headline of a NCPR story today and from her record it rings true. It’s just we all know that at times the challenge is in finding that balance among all the seeming competing interests. “Sutton says she believes in finding a balance – between the 227,000 jobs and 33 billion dollars in revenue that ... read more

Disappointment with new EPA Ballast Water Regulations
It is disappointing that almost 40 years after the enactment of the Clean Water Act it took a lawsuit to force the EPA to act to protect the nation’s waterways at all and that when it did act, it did so in such weak manner. read more

Reflections on a New River Season
The opening of the Seaway prompted a reflection on the state of the River and the River communities that depend on it. We were pleased that several newspapers (Thousand Islands Sun, Kingston Whig-Standard, Brockville Recorder & Times and the Watertown Daily Times) thought it worth publishing. The T.I.Sun version is here. read more

A Breakdown of the New US Coast Guard Ballast Rules – What They Mean for the River
As the Seaway opens this week for its 54th shipping season, we’ve been grappling to fully understand the long-term implications of last Friday’s release by the US Coast Guard of their final rule for regulating ship ballast discharges. read more

See our blog for more news!     

About Us

Founded in 1978, Save The River is a non-profit, member-supported environmental organization whose mission is to restore, preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research. Since 2004 Save The River has been a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance as the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper.

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The River

The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest Rivers in the world and a magnificent place to live, work and play. Save The River has been working for more than 35 years to protect the River for current and future generations.

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Join or Give

Over half of Save The River's budget comes from individual memberships and contributions. Supporting us with an annual membership donation will keep our River advocacy, education and research programs going strong.

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Save The River was designated the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, with more than 200 local Waterkeepers patrolling rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on 6 continents.

Photos from around the River

Off to the races by Pam Quimby  Resting by Pam Quimby  On the Rocks by Nick Apel  Classic Sunset by Barb Hupp  TI Park Library by Meg Kerr  Fall by Carrie Kerr  Girls by Juliane Bauer  Winter Navigation by Sherman Ward  Off on the River by Jenni Werndorf  A Seaway View by Devon Colby 
 Pictures from our Flickr photostream

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