The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced that it is providing $4m to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species found in cargo ships plying the Great Lakes and America’s inland waterways.
“This funding demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting the Great Lakes while supporting economic revitalization of the entire region,” said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
The funding is part of the Administration’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest federal investment in the Great Lakes in 20 years. The initiative’s priorities for action—developed by a task force of 16 federal departments —are combating invasive species, cleaning up toxics, protecting wetlands from pollution, and restoring wetland and habitats.
“As the largest freshwater system on Earth, the Great Lakes are a national treasure, and the foundation of a multi-billion dollar regional economy. Working together, we will protect this essential resource for the benefit of communities throughout the region, and the Nation as a whole,” said Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda.
Through a cooperative agreement with the Northeast Midwest Institute, MARAD is providing funding and technical expertise to help upgrade the Great Ships Initiative (GSI) ballast water treatment technology testing facility. The GSI facility, located in the Duluth-Superior Harbor of Lake Superior and the only one in North America, is being used to test promising water treatment technologies designed to remove unwelcome species “hitch-hiking” in ballast water tanks onboard cargo ships.