(a) The commission, in consultation with the board, the United States Coast Guard, and a technical advisory group made up of interested persons, including, but not limited to, shipping and port representatives, shall sponsor pilot programs for the purpose of evaluating alternatives for treating and otherwise managing ballast water. The goal of this effort shall be the reduction or elimination of the discharge of nonindigenous species into the coastal waters of the state or into waters that may impact coastal waters of the state. Whenever possible, the pilot programs shall include funding from federal grants and appropriations, vendor funding, and state bond funds, including, but not limited to, bond funds from the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002. Priority shall be given to projects to test and evaluate treatment technologies that can be used to prevent the introduction and spread of nonindigenous aquatic species into coastal waters of the state by ship-mediated vectors.
(b) The commission shall provide biennial summaries to the Legislature and the public, beginning on or before January 31, 2005, of the results of the pilot programs conducted pursuant to this section. These summary reports shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the projects, the relative effectiveness of the technologies examined in minimizing the discharge of nonindigenous species, and the costs of implementing the technologies.