16 U.S.C. § 4701 - Findings and purposes

Cite as16 U.S.C. § 4701

(a) Findings

The Congress finds that-

(1) the discharge of untreated water in the ballast tanks of vessels and through other means results in unintentional introductions of nonindigenous species to fresh, brackish, and saltwater environments;

(2) when environmental conditions are favorable, nonindigenous species become established, may compete with or prey upon native species of plants, fish, and wildlife, may carry diseases or parasites that affect native species, and may disrupt the aquatic environment and economy of affected nearshore areas;

(3) the zebra mussel was unintentionally introduced into the Great Lakes and has infested-

(A) waters south of the Great Lakes, into a good portion of the Mississippi River drainage;

(B) waters west of the Great Lakes, into the Arkansas River in Oklahoma; and

(C) waters east of the Great Lakes, into the Hudson River and Lake Champlain;

(4) the potential economic disruption to communities affected by the zebra mussel due to its colonization of water pipes, boat hulls and other hard surfaces has been estimated at $5,000,000,000 by the year 2000, and the potential disruption to the diversity and abundance of native fish and other species by the zebra mussel and ruffe, round goby, and other nonindigenous species could be severe;

(5) the zebra mussel was discovered on Lake Champlain during 1993 and the opportunity exists to act quickly to establish zebra mussel controls before Lake Champlain is further infested and management costs escalate;

(6) in 1992, the zebra mussel was discovered at the northernmost reaches of the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

(7) the zebra mussel poses an imminent risk of invasion in the main waters of the Chesapeake Bay;

(8) since the Chesapeake Bay is the largest recipient of foreign ballast water on the East Coast, there is a risk of further invasions of other nonindigenous species;

(9) the zebra mussel is only one example of thousands of nonindigenous species that have become established in waters of the United States and may be causing economic and ecological degradation with respect to the natural resources of waters of the United States;

(10) since their introduction in the early 1980's in ballast water discharges, ruffe-

(A) have caused severe declines in populations of other species of fish in Duluth Harbor (in Minnesota and Wisconsin);

(B) have spread to Lake Huron; and

(C) are likely to spread quickly to most other waters in North America if action is not taken promptly to control their spread;

(11) examples of nonindigenous species that, as of October 26, 1996, infest coastal waters of the United States and that have the potential for causing adverse economic and ecological effects include-

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