STICKING POINT: Zebra mussels, here attached to a crayfish, can be real pests.
Late last month President Bill Clinton signed the National Invasive Species Act, which will provide additional funds to combat a growing ecological and economic problem. Non-native freshwater and marine plants and animals from as far away as Asia are carried to North American estuaries like San Francisco Bay-where they sometimes gain a troublesome toehold-in ship ballast water. The act authorizes an average of $22.4 million for research and monitoring annually over the next six years, notes Bob Peoples, the non-indigenous species coordinator for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. He notes that the agency is still working out details regarding how and when to make the funds available to researchers. Waterborne creatures are flushed into the surrounding water when ships wash out their ballast holds. Some of the foreign species thrive in their new home so...

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