Invasive Species Threaten U.S. Waters: Boat and Seaplane Owners Mobilize to Fight Bilge Water Alien Species
Invasive species of aquatic plants and animals enter the U.S. daily without detection. They come from Europe, Asia and South America; stowed away deep in the bilges of large seagoing vessels. Once they arrive at U.S. ports they quickly invade to turn native aquatic plants and animals into endangered species. They cost billions in damage to commercial and recreational industries. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially calls them aquatic nuisance species (ANS) and considers their threat so ominous, an ANS task force of hundreds of federal, state, and municipal agencies has been mobilized to stop alien species by adding new steps to clean boating practices. A new form of border control helps water recreation enthusiasts clean up their act to avoid spreading ANS infestations.
Alien Species are Sinister Stowaways
Aquatic invasive species have stowed away to U.S. shores on ships from around the world since the 1800s and have now spread to over 40 states. As large merchant and cruise ships dock in U.S. harbors for refueling purposes, they drain bilge tanks, used to maintain a vessel’s stability as fuel is expended. Bilge water containing aquatic species from foreign countries is deposited into freshwater harbors, like that of the …