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Invasive Species Resources

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International Maritime Organization.

Amendments to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of potentially invasive species in ships' ballast water entered into force on 13 October 2019. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to address this problem. The BWM Convention entered into force in 2017. The amendments formalise an implementation schedule to ensure ships manage their ballast water to meet a specified standard ("D-2 standard") aimed at ensuring that viable organisms are not released into new sea areas, and make mandatory the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems, which sets out how ballast water management systems used to achieve the D-2 standard have to be assessed and approved. This will help ensure that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location – and avoid the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Division of Aquatic Resources.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA issued a final vessel general permit (VGP) regulating vessel discharges from commercial vessels, including ballast water, to protect the nation's waters from ship-borne pollutants and reduce invasive species in U.S. waters. The permit imposes international cleanliness standards that the Coast Guard also adopted in regulations it issued last year.

Note: On December 4, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, which includes as Title IX the Vessel Incident Discharge Act of 2018 (“VIDA”). The new regulations will replace the EPA’s 2013 Vessel General Permit (“VGP”). EPA first issued the Vessel General Permit (VGP) in 2008 and subsequently reissued it in 2013.
Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition to intergovernmental efforts and research to detect and monitor aquatic nuisance species (ANS), the EPA addresses ANS using numerous regulatory tools.

The EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Vessel General Permit (VGP) and Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) regulate discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels, including ballast water and hull fouling, which are both pathways for introductions of aquatic nuisance species. The EPA and the Department of Defense are jointly developing the Uniform National Discharge Standards for vessels of the Armed Forces which will also regulate ballast water and hull fouling to help control the introduction of aquatic nuisance species.

Note: On December 4, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, which includes as Title IX the Vessel Incident Discharge Act of 2018 (“VIDA”). The new regulations will replace the EPA’s 2013 Vessel General Permit (“VGP”). EPA first issued the Vessel General Permit (VGP) in 2008 and subsequently reissued it in 2013.
European Maritime Safety Agency.
California State Lands Commission.

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.