Marine Transportation of Invasive Species
Vessels act directly as a vector
for the introduction of invasive, non-native species to new areas. Invasive,
non-native species often out-compete native species and can dramatically reduce
biodiversity. This can significantly impair the resilience of coastal and
marine ecosystems, resulting in both short-term and long-term economic and
environmental impacts. These impacts include but are not limited to:
• Species extinction (reduction of ecosystem diversity)
• Economic loss of natural resources (e.g., aquaculture also some
marine life has pharmaceutical applications, and loss of these species would be
economically detrimental to local communities).
• Damage to infrastructure (e.g., power plant cooling fouling, built
• Loss of
recreational and commercial fisheries opportunities.
Non-native species are carried by
vessels in ballast water and by biofouling. Species introduction via ballast
water in one place is determined by ballast water intake location and intake quantity.
Species carried by biofouling is determined by hull area, structure and sailing
speed. Both of these effects are influenced by marine traffic volume, vessel
sizes, vessel configuration, operating patterns, and frequency of arrivals. Species
establishment depends on environmental factors such as temperature, salinity, and PH.
Harm to native environment is
poorly understood, however, there is consensus that eradication of invasive
species is more difficult and more costly than prevention or invasion risk
reduction measures. Technologies and practices can help reduce the introduction
rate, such as the use of ballast-free technologies, ballast water exchange, ballast water treatment, and hull
treatment. Cost and performance information is needed to strategically select
appropriate options for specific locations, including loss and damage
estimation and post-damage treatment cost estimation.
Create a cost-effective decision-support system for
state and local government agencies, local non-governmental groups and
commercial fishing trade associates based on state or local invasive species regulation
targets. This system will consider potential quantitative negative effects on
local environment without treatment, post-damage treatment cost, and ballast
water and biofouling invasive species treatment cost
Better quantification of the effects
of invasive species and cost of technologies and practices can help state and
local government agencies, local non-governmental groups and commercial fishing
associations choose a cost-effective method to reduce invasive species damage. These
insights also can inform innovative technology development of more advance options.
Several longstanding efforts have helped to
characterize the concerns related to waterborne transport and introduction of
invasive species. These studies have
informed technology-policy decisions including International Ballast Water
Management Convention and U.S. federal law directing authority to the
Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, U.S.
The following tasks are not comprehensive. They are intended as a guide to what might be necessary to successfully complete the research:
- Compile and review local invasive species regulation studies, risk assessments, and proposed or active standards.
- Compile and summarize vessel activity data (arrival records, including information of departure location, ballast water exchange location and quantity, voyage duration and sailing speed).
- Access and integrate one or more global water environment (temperature, salinity and PH) database.
- Construct a model of invasive species establishment risk, and potential damage to local environment.
- Evaluate cost of potential damages in terms of direct and indirect loss of resources, costs of response or adaptation.
- Compile, review, and compare the performance and cost of vessel-based and local invasive species treatment methods, including vessels that are designed to not require ballasting.
- Compile and review preventive practice and technologies on ballast water and biofouling, including onshore and onboard methods.
- Use performance and cost data to develop strategic objectives and metrics.
- Enable a dynamic decision support tool that inputs each option with performance and cost into decision-making system.
- Prepare outreach material and PowerPoint presentation for dissemination to potential users/ stakeholders
- Demonstrate the system to state and local government agencies, local non-governmental groups and commercial fishing trade associates with their regulation goals
USCG, EPA, costal state governments (Attorneys
general of nine states, Governors of seven coastal states), environmental
groups such as NRDC, Great Lakes Commission may find this system useful in
assess invasive species risk and evaluate ballast water and biofouling
regulations and could help implement its application.
Highly relevant to local policy makers who are trying to evaluate options to mitigate introduction of invasive species.
|Sponsoring Committee:||AW030, Marine Environment
|Research Period:||Longer than 36 months|
|RNS Developer:||Richard Billings, Zhaojun Wang, and James Corbett|
|Source Info:||NSF Coastal SEES project funding university collaboration; US DOT META; International Maritime Organization|
|Index Terms:||Invasive species, Invasive plants, Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Ballast (Ships), Biofouling, Water traffic, Environmental impacts, Environmental protection, |