DOT Agency Awards Contract to Battle Invasive Species

WASHINGTON--The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has awarded a $350,000 contract to the Northwest-Midwest Institute’s Great Ships Initiative to develop appropriate protocols for ballast water discharge sampling.

Ballast water has been a major factor in the spread of invasive species. Proper and standardized ballast discharge sampling protocols are fundamental to verifying that ballast water treatment technology is effective aboard a working ship, as well as in the laboratory. The new contract is for targeted, empirical, engineering and biological research to design and validate a ballast sampling method that is reliable, replicable, and cost-effective for both the ship owner and the regulatory community.

“This is an important step in battling invasive species in ballast water,” said Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton. “The Maritime Administration is responding to industry’s call for help in finding economical and technically sound ways to treat ballast water to combat invasive species.”

The contract complements a cooperative program being conducted in the Chesapeake Bay, for which the Maritime Administration provided vessels to test treatment technologies; and past support for the Great Ships Initiative construction of a world-class land-based ballast treatment testing facility in Duluth-Superior Harbor of Lake Superior.

The Great Ships Initiative is a collaborative effort to end the problem of ship-mediated introductions of invasive species in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.

The Maritime Administration’s mission is to improve and strengthen the U.S. marine transportation system--including infrastructure, industry and labor--to meet the economic, environmental, and security needs of the nation.


# # #