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GRDadof3

Conservation group recommends banning all seagoing ships from Great Lakes

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Great Lakes United is recommending banning all oceangoing vessels from entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway. Their reasoning is that oceangoing freighters have done little to treat their ballast water, which is bringing in scores of invasive species that threaten many native plants, fish and organisms in the Great Lakes. This would not effect vessels that only deliver materials within the Great Lakes system.

A good idea?

Read the article and see what you think

Considering the Great Lakes is THE largest irreplaceable natural resource Michigan has, I'd say it's worth it. The article also points out some other important aspects:

- Recreational boating is a far greater contributor to Michigan's economy than these shipments

- Recreational boating stands to suffer (and is now suffering) greatly from invasive species

- A new invasive species is discovered now every 6 months

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Good idea from a conservationalists stand point. This ban would not just stop the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes, but any of the lakes in Michigan that see recreational usage. Any one of us fishermen snagging in Watermilfoil will tell you it's a good idea.

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I don't know about this one, I'd really have to look at the level of traffic. If Oceangoing trade is significant, it would be like cutting off a leg of our economy. If I felt the effects would be minimal, I would say yes immediately, I'm just not sure we can afford to do this right now.

Besides, I think there are other options we might explore first. This seems a little extreme for the moment.

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Here's more from the article on the economic cost:

A draft study from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicates recreational boating contributes more to the region's economy than shipping, and it is dependent on the health of the Great Lakes.

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Here's more from the article on the economic cost:

It's quite impressive that Michigan's recreational boating market has this much presence. I'm sure there are more costs involved that include social and ecological ramifications if shipping continues or banned.

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Well you have to remember that Michigan trades places with Florida and California with having the most registered boats (close to a million).

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Not to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into this vision of sound Environmentalism. But Wouldn't banning all sea going vessels from entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway totally defeat the purpose of it? Not to mention that it would bring untold costs to a state economy already up to its armpits in alligators. Shipping on the Great Lakes and the Seaway still serves an important economic and logistical function. :whistling:

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Not to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into this vision of sound Environmentalism. But Wouldn't banning all sea going vessels from entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway totally defeat the purpose of it? Not to mention that it would bring untold costs to a state economy already up to its armpits in alligators. Shipping on the Great Lakes and the Seaway still serves an important economic and logistical function. :whistling:

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Here's an example of an invasive species that has infiltrated the Illinois River, the Asian Carp. These "leaping" fish are a menace to the fishing industry, and have injured many fishermen. There's an electric current where the river meets Lake Michigan to keep them out, but nothing to stop them from coming in via the St. Lawrence Seaway (via ship ballast):

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1) Are the costs to find and use alternative shipping modes as high as the costs of losing the Great Lakes to invasive species. Not only lost tourism (the #2 industry in the State), but also the fishing industry? A ban would force the shipping companies to do what they should have done a long time ago.

2) Is it worth risking the destruction of the largest collection of fresh water in the world just because international ship companies won't treat their ballasts?

3) I don't know the numbers, but I don't believe the international shipping companies via the St. Lawrence Seaway carry anywhere near the greatest amount of goods that are exported from Michigan. The seaway mainly carries iron ore, wheat and coal. http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0843098.html

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