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For years, carp have moved faster than official reaction

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For years, few people in authority would listen to warnings about Asian carp coming north in the Mississippi River watershed and getting into the Great Lakes.

Now, the alarm is getting more attention. On Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin sponsored a bill that would speed up an Army Corp of Engineers study on severing the connection between the two watersheds. That's one of many reactions now that the carp have reached an electric barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and a live carp has been found on the wrong side of the barrier in Lake Calumet, six miles from Lake Michigan.

There also was a report that the carp have been moving up Indiana's Wabash River to a point where a flood could be enough to carry them into a river feeding into Lake Erie. Carp already have been found in Lake Erie, but there has been no sign of a breeding population.

The Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds have historically been interconnected during flooding. Similar to the situation in Indiana, the carp-infested Des Plaines River runs parallel to the nearby Sanitary and Ship canal, and flooding is a risk.

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There are uses for the carp sufficiently economical to induce commercial fishermen to harvest them in huge numbers. While this will not provide an absolute barrier to populating the Great Lakes it will reduce their impact locally.

Besides being a food fish for many ethnic groups these invasive species can be processed in simple installations to become a highly effective soil amendment for farmer and gardeners. Decentralized installation of processing plants will reduce harvest costs and encourage local industry to support the commercial fishing of them.

Two new congressional bills were introduced June 30 titled The Permanent Prevention of Asian Carp Act.
These bills were introduced by Senator Stabenow and Representative Camp of Michigan.
The bill "creates an expedited study of the feasibility of separating the waterways. While this method would require a complex feat of engineering, we need to understand the costs and benefits and whether this method offers the best hope for a long-term solution for containing not only the Carp, but other invasive species.”
"The study must begin within 30 days of the bill’s enactment, and the Army Corps must send a progress report to Congress and the President within six months and again in 12 months. The full study must be completed and given to Congress and the President 18 months after the bill is enacted. It will be monitored by the Council on Environmental Quality to ensure its thorough and timely completion."
I urge you to contact your congress persons and get them to strongly support these bills. Also contact friends across the country garnering their support.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Frisbie published on July 1, 2010 3:38 PM.

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