Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feds Fork Over $78.5 Million To Keep Asian Carp Out of The Great Lakes

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 7:07 AM

click to enlarge Kanye does not put Asian Carp in his mouth. - IMAGE VIA
  • Image Via
  • Kanye does not put Asian Carp in his mouth.
Lawmakers from across the upper Midwest are still carping all over each other. This time, however, they're arguing about how effective $78.5 million in (mostly) federal funds will be in keeping invasive Asian Carp out of Lake Michigan.

Just a few weeks removed from hosting a summit at the White House to discuss the problem of the fish reaching Lake Michigan, the government announced their plan to combat the carp and their destructive appetites out of one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.

Predictably, nobody was completely happy with the scheme.


Leaders from Michigan derided the plan as "half-measures and gimmicks." Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, meanwhile, was pleased the canal connecting the Chicago river to Lake Michigan will not close.

Still, $78.5 million is a whole lotta fish sticks. What's it paying for?

According to the New York Times, the meeting included representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. They developed an "Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework" (click the link for .pdf) that includes "Great Lakes restoration efforts" and "new barriers to prevent flooding that might allow the spread of the fish."

The key component, though, is the shipping canal. No Asian carp have slipped through thus far (though their DNA has been detected in Lake Michigan) but everyone agrees it is the most likely pathway.

Writes the NYT:
[The plan] also seeks completion of a third electric barrier aimed at preventing the fish, which have already made homes in the Mississippi River system, from traveling through the waterways that lead to the Great Lakes.

The plan suggests that navigational locks along those waterways, which connect to Lake Michigan and are crucial to commercial barge traffic in the Chicago area, could be opened less often than they are now as a way to slow the carp.
The plan did little to appease Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who wants the locks shut down completely. She argues that the fish -- which have already taken over many Missouri waterways at the expense of native species -- don't keep a schedule and could sneak by at any time.

Illinois, in turn, points out the passage is a necessary for shipping coal, salt, cement, gravel and other essentials via barge.

The obvious solution? Like we've been saying all along: bow hunters.

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