Bush signs; ozone treatment for ballast water; wetland restoration template goes national

December 03, 2002

On November 26, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 3389, the National Sea Grant College Program Act Amendments of 2002, officially completing the reauthorization of the National Sea Grant College Program within the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the period between FY 2003 through 2008. The bill would authorize $60 million for FY 2003 increasing to $85 million by 2008. In addition to these amounts, the bill would authorize an additional $5 million for zebra mussels, $5 million for oyster disease, $5 million for algal blooms, and $3 million for fishery extension each year.

Thousands of species of marine life are currently being transported in ships' ballast tanks, according to Russell Herwig, Washington Sea Grant Program¹s new Marine Ballast Water Specialist. The seawater inside these tanks can contain a mini-menagerie of aquatic organisms: minute jellyfish, larval mussels and barnacles, marine worms, juvenile fish and even smaller bacteria and viruses.

When a ship docks at a Northwest port, it may dump this water, releasing the organisms into local bays and inlets. Herwig and others are exploring technologies to curb accidental introductions of unwanted organisms in ballast water. Currently being tested are ozone and ultra-violet disinfection equipment. "These technologies may be extremely costly to install, so only the larger, better funded shipping operations could consider them," says Herwig.

A less costly treatment involves using a biocide such as chlorine, glutaraldehyde (a chemical fixative used in electron microscopy) or other chemicals to kill the mini-menagerie inside ballast tanks. While such treatments could minimize or eliminate the problems inside the tank, they might cause other problems when treated water is released into the environment.

"As the second state in the nation to pass ballast water regulations, Washington State has become a leader in aquatic nuisance species control," offers Herwig. "It¹s great to be part of a team that¹s addressing the issues of ballast water introductions before they become problems too vast to control.

CONTACT: Russell Herwig, Washington Sea Grant Marine Ballast Water Specialist, Email: herwig@u.washington.edu; Phone: 206-685-2163

Efforts to save Oregon's native salmon runs by restoring their habitat are becoming a model for national watershed restoration efforts. Oregon Sea Grant's Extension agents and specialists have been at the heart of an increasingly intense effort to understand and reverse the salmon decline, restoring the species to ecological health and sustainable harvest levels.

The focus is on restoring the habitat to one in which the fish can flourish. Sea Grant's goal has not been to do a lot of rehabilitation - but to teach people how to do it in their own communities.

Nine extension faculty affiliated with Oregon Sea Grant have provided a wealth of information, training and consultation for community watershed councils which are the backbone of Oregon's Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. From early efforts to get organized, through on-the-ground habitat restoration work and landowner education, Sea Grant agents provide a local connection to university resources. Oregon Sea Grant and the Extension Service created the Watershed Stewardship Education Program, which is helping local citizens and watershed groups implement the Oregon Plan.

The Watershed Stewardship Education Program (WSEP), in collaboration with Oregon State University (OSU) Extension forestry staff, has developed a curriculum to help local councils form effective partnerships, understand their watersheds, and develop strategies for enhancing or restoring them. In turn, WSEP has grown into a national Sea Grant program. This joint program of the Oregon, New York and Louisiana Sea Grant programs is making the educational material developed for WSEP available to programs across the country.

More than 1,000 people have participated in the Oregon training program in the three years since it was established. The program's eight modules focus on different aspects of watershed rehabilitation, with an indoor and field portion for each module. Participants learn by working on actual projects, and their efforts are tracked by Sea Grant once they return to their own areas. Although watershed council members are the primary audience of the sessions, participants also include teachers, farmers, foresters and individuals interested in aiding the local environment.

Oregon Sea Grant has published "The National Coastal Ecosystem Restoration Manual," with input from its New York and Louisiana Sea Grant partners, to make Oregon's success applicable to a national audience. It will encourage local groups to use the best available science in their projects and provide plenty of that information, plus a list of additional resources. The publication supplies a guide to incorporating effective group processes such as decision-making, conversational skills, conflict resolution and meeting management.

With wetland and coastal habitat loss of increasing concern --- Louisiana, which contains 40% of the nation's wetlands, is losing them at the rate of 30 square miles per day, an annual loss of wetlands larger than the state of Rhode Island --- it is hoped that the Sea Grant template will assist in slowing, if not reversing the loss of America's valuable wetlands.

CONTACTS: Tara Nierenberg, Oregon Sea Grant WSEP Coordinator, Phone: 541-737-8715 or 877-652-0302; Email: tara.nierenberg@orst.edu
Robert J. Kent, New York Sea Grant WSEP Coordinator, Phone: 631-727-3910; Email: rjk13@cornell.edu
Brian LeBlanc, Louisiana Sea Grant WSEP Coordinator, Phone: 985-522-2270; Email: bleblanc@agctr.lsu.edu

Superior Pursuit: Facts About The Greatest Great Lake
Whether you visit Minnesota's North Shore or live there year-round, Lake Superior is a constant source of wonder. From the sunny calm of July to the gray crashing waves of November, the lake helps shape the climate, landscape, economy, and quality of life along the shore. Learn some fun and interesting facts about Lake Superior that highlight the greatness of this inland sea at this Minnesota Sea Grant website.

Workshop on the Future of Coastal Engineering Education in California
December 5, 2002, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
With nearly 80% of the state population living within 25 miles of the coast, population growth and other pressures are increasing demands on the California coast. Trained, experienced professionals are needed for all aspects of coastal management. USC Sea Grant is convening a one-day workshop aiming to encourage broad exploration of ways to meet current and future demands for trained coastal engineers in California. For more information contact Phyllis Grifman: Email: grifman@usc.edu; Phone: 213-740-1963; or Ruth Dudas: Email: rdudas@usc.edu; Phone: 213-740-1961.
Sea Grant is a nationwide network of 30 university-based programs that works with coastal communities and is supported by NOAA. Sea Grant research and outreach programs promote better understanding, conservation, and use of America's coastal resources. For more information about Sea Grant visit the Sea Grant Media Center Website at: www.seagrantnews.org , which includes on-line keyword searchable database of academic experts in over 30 topical areas.

National Sea Grant College Program

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