Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

New York drops ballast standards shippers fought

The Associated Press

Traverse City — New York state officials have backed away from tough regulations for ridding ballast water of invasive species that the maritime industry says would bring international shipping in the Great Lakes to a halt.

The rules, which had been scheduled to take effect in August 2013, would order cargo vessels to cleanse ballast water to a level at least 100 times stricter than international standards before releasing it. The shipping industry contends no technology exists to meet the New York requirement, although environmentalists disagree.

Shippers say the policy would prohibit any cargo ship without the required technology from traveling through New York territory on the St. Lawrence River, the gateway to the Great Lakes — effectively shutting down commercial traffic between the lakes and the Atlantic. ...

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation said this week it was postponing the effective date of its rules until December 2013. Because they are tied to a federal permit that expires then, the state rules essentially are being canceled. ...

Read the full story at link.


Invasive plant poses threat to the Great Marsh

By David Rattigan
The Boston Globe

Geoff Walker has watched the Phragmites australis grow for years, but a new study has proven what he already knew.

Typically, the invasive species that is also called the “common reed’’ starts on the marsh border and spreads, sometimes to the point where it crowds other plant species out. In recent years, that pattern had changed.

"About four of five years ago we looked out and saw tremendous amounts of emerging small stands of phragmites [spread around the marsh], which is atypical," said Walker, a Newbury selectman whose home abuts the Great Marsh [in Massachusetts]. "That is what that study brings to light, and that certain parts of our marsh are reaching a tipping point. Once that tipping point is reached, we could lose broad swaths of our productive, high marsh."

The study, released on Jan. 31, has confirmed anecdotal observations, and offered both bad and good news regarding the future of the Great Marsh.

The bad news is that the study found the rest of the northern portion of the marsh - in Newbury and Salisbury - was potentially vulnerable to the invasive plant species.

The good news is that it determined that efforts to contain the spread, including spraying, was an effective short-term solution. The suggestion from the report is that spraying and other techniques could be used to manage the species for the time being. ...

Read the full story at link.


Supreme Court Refuses Request To Stop Invasive Fish From Spreading

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't order closure of shipping locks on Chicago-area waterways to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Michigan and other Great Lakes states, who have been trying for immediate shutdown of the locks and a quicker timetable for other steps to halt the carp's northward march from the Mississippi River toward Lake Michigan. ...

Read the full story at link.


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