Stronger federal measures across the board are needed to protect the Great Lakes and other North American water resources against the threat of aquatic invasive species (AIS), a group of expert witnesses told a House Natural Resources subcommittee Thursday during testimony on Capitol Hill.
The hearing, before the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans, focused on the numerous nonballast vectors by which AIS are introduced into North American ecosystems and the measures needed to defend against them. Many of these, such as the trade in live organisms, recreational activities, or migration through canals and waterways, have been overshadowed by ballast water issues yet still merit serious attention.
The hearing was held the same day that the Senate Commerce Committee voted to approve S. 1578, the Ballast Water Management Act, which would require mandatory ballast water treatment technology on all ships that travel to U.S. ports. The measure now heads to the Senate floor.
Among those testifying was Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, a senior project manager with the Great Lakes Commission who coordinates many of the AIS-related activities for the organization. She also supervisors the staff support services the Commission provides to the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species.
Among her recommendations, she urged that Congress strengthen AIS prevention and control programs through comprehensive legislation at the federal level. She also recommended that greater authority be given to the national Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to develop and implement a comprehensive and cohesive response to address AIS threats. This would include strengthening the state management planning process, developing rapid response protocols and screening tools to combat the growing problem of AIS introductions from commercial trade. She advocated that Congress increase appropriations to support full scale implementation of the state management plans on ANS prevention and control.
Her full written testimony submitted to the subcommittee is available at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/images/
Others testifying included Larry Riley, Arizona Game and Fish Department; Prof. David Lodge, University of Notre Dame; Peter Jenkins, Defenders of Wildlife; Dr. Mamie Parker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Timothy Keeney, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
All written testimony, as well as the hearing agenda and opening statement of Subcommittee Chair Rep. Madeline Bordallo, are available at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?
For immediate release: September 28, 2007
Contact: Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, firstname.lastname@example.org, office: 734-971-9135