Wisconsin Earmarks Funds for Invasive Species Control
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle recently dedicated $6 million for ballast water filtration systems to strengthen the harbors in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Superior and protect the Great Lakes.
"The Great Lakes define our region and are our most precious natural resource," Doyle said. "We have an opportunity to strengthen our shipping industry and protect our lakes from invasive species. The federal government is failing to take serious action, and it’s our time to be leaders in treating ballast water here on Lake Michigan. It’s time to flex our muscles so our Great Lakes aren’t overrun with mussels."
The Great Lakes annually carry more than 1,300 ships through Wisconsin ports. Its harbors handle approximately 44 tons of cargo that support 11,000 jobs and are worth more than $7 billion a year. Doyle believes that shipping is vital to the state’s economy.
Ships deliver approximately 8.8 billion gallons of ballast water per year to Wisconsin’s harbors, according to the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association. Oceangoing vessels – or salties, as they are known – can deliver exotic species such as the quagga mussel when they empty their ballast water to take on cargo.
Harbor Assistance Grants were designed to strengthen and support shipping, and Doyle is directing $6 million of the money to fund innovative programs like the Onshore Ballast Water Treatment pilot in Milwaukee.
He also is calling for meaningful federal action to address ballast water and aquatic invasive species. More than 180 invasive species have made their way into the Great Lakes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.