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
More than 186 aquatic invasive species have been documented in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River system. 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.