Title

Evaluating efficacy of an environmental policy to prevent biological invasions

Author ORCID Identifier

http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7264-732X

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Publication Title

Environmental Science and Technology

Volume

45

Issue

7

First Page

2554

Last Page

2561

DOI

10.1021/es102655j

Abstract

Enactment of any environmental policy should be followed by an evaluation of its efficacy to ensure optimal utilization of limited resources, yet measuring the success of these policies can be a challenging task owing to a dearth of data and confounding factors. We examine the efficacy of ballast water policies enacted to prevent biological invasions in the Laurentian Great Lakes. We utilize four criteria to assess the efficacy of this environmental regulation: (1) Is the prescribed management action demonstrably effective? (2) Is the management action effective under operational conditions? (3) Can compliance be achieved on a broad scale? (4) Are desired changes observed in the environment? The four lines of evidence resulting from this analysis indicate that the Great Lakes ballast water management program provides robust, but not complete, protection against ship-mediated biological invasions. Our analysis also indicates that corresponding inspection and enforcement efforts should be undertaken to ensure that environmental policies translate into increased environmental protection. Similar programs could be implemented immediately around the world to protect the biodiversity of the many freshwater ecosystems which receive ballast water discharges by international vessels. This general framework can be extended to evaluate efficacy of other environmental policies. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Share

COinS