I am very frustrated, this fish kill sanctioned by local, state, federal and international groups just blows my mind.
This was part of the scene yesterday as the boondoggle associated with the electric barrier at Romeoville, designed to keep Asian carp from advancing to Lake Michigan, just keeps growing.
Yet, we keep dumping millions of dollars after millions of dollars in what will go down as not only the greatest boondoggle in the history of Chicago outdoors, but one of the all-timer boondoggles in Chicago history, and that's saying something.
To answer the questions of readers/viwers, I plan to keep tracking this. I don't think I can make it today, but tomorrow I plan to document more of it.
In the meantime, here is some of the official word from the start of fish kill, which began last night, on a nearly six-mile stretch around Romeoville and Lockport.
Asian Carp Rapid Response Project to begin on Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Canal will be closed beginning December 2 in support of electric barrier maintenance
ROMEOVILLE, IL -The Asian Carp Rapid Response team will begin its work this week on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) to control the movement of Asian carp. The project is in support of required scheduled maintenance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Barrier IIA, one of two electric barriers currently in operation on the CSSC. The barriers were constructed to prevent the movement of Asian carp into Lake Michigan.
The canal will to be closed to all traffic beginning December 2 (weather permitting) for a period of four to five days during which workers will apply a fish toxicant, known as rotenone, to a 5.7-mile section of the CSSC between the barrier and the Lockport Lock and Dam. During the closure, the USACE will perform routine maintenance work on Barrier IIA. No bank fishing or other activities will be permitted at the canal during the operation.
Water quality experts from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) will be monitoring downstream of the application zone to ensure that the waters of the state are protected, and the chemicals do not move beyond the designated application area.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), in coordination with the multi-agency workgroup along with the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, will manage the application of rotenone.
The toxicant will eradicate Asian carp and other fish in the canal, but does not present a risk to people or other wildlife when used properly. Dead fish will be removed from the canal and properly disposed at a landfill.
While Asian carp have been detected using environmental DNA testing in the canal above and below the barrier, no actual specimen has been found. Despite the lack of physical evidence, there is consensus among federal, state, and local agencies along with other partners that actions must be taken to prevent these invasive species from reaching Lake Michigan.
"The barrier system is a critical element in the fight to keep Asian carp from migrating into Lake Michigan via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The Army Corps of Engineers is committed to keeping the barrier system operating effectively and regularly scheduled maintenance is a key part of that process," said Col. Vincent Quarles, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District.
"We believe it is still critical to support and defend the electric barrier while it is down for maintenance," said IDNR Assistant Director John Rogner. "The barrier remains our most effective weapon against this very aggressive invasive species."
IDNR fisheries biologists are using various sampling methods in areas above the barrier where positive environmental DNA tests have identified the presence of Asian carp in an attempt to find a physical specimen.
If Asian carp become established in the Great Lakes, they could cause a catastrophic decline in native fish species and severely damage the Great Lakes fishing industry, valued at $7 billion.
"Everyone on this team is fully aware that urgent action must be taken to keep these destructive fish out of the Great Lakes," said Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on the Great Lakes.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to working with the State of Illinois, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and all of the Asian Carp Working Group partners to provide technical assistance, including on-the -ground personnel and resources to support the Rapid Response Plan," said Charlie Wooley, Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The schedule of events, weather permitting, is listed below:
Tuesday, Dec 1
Wednesday, Dec 2
· Electro-fishing/salvage/relocation of sport fish
· Rotenone application begins p.m.
Thursday, Dec 3
· Rotenone Application continues early a.m.
· Begin clean up
· Barrier maintenance begins
Friday, Dec 4
· Clean-up continues
Saturday, Dec 5
· Begin demobilization
The Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup includes the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Coast Guard, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Chicago Department of Environment, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Midwest Generation, Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, International Joint Commission, and Wisconsin Sea Grant. Fisheries management agencies from Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York are also providing support to the operation.
Additional information about the recent sampling efforts is available on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' website at www.lrc.usace.army.mil.
For more information about Asian carp and the Rapid Response operations on the CSSC, the public and media are encouraged to log on to www.asiancarp.org/rapidresponse. The website will be updated daily during operations with details about the project, weather delays, and other information.