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Stop all the trickery toward stopping assault of Asian carp



Published: Wed, March 21, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

A clear and present danger looms larger by the day in the Great Lakes region that threatens the economic and environmental livelihood of 35 million residents.

To many in our region, that danger remains invisible. To all in our region, that danger poses significant risks that must be tackled pronto.

That danger is the deadly Asian carp, a breed of fish that can grow as large as 4 feet long and can weigh as much as 100 pounds. These underwater enemies eat like hogs, breed like bunnies and rip asunder any ecosystem in their path.

The Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative call the carp the greatest damaging invasive species that has entered the Great Lakes in the last century.

That’s why the recent urgent plea from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown for more swift and aggressive action to prevent an invasion of Asian carp into Lake Erie must resonate with our power brokers and policy makers in Washington.

“Ohioans cannot afford excuses and foot-dragging any longer,” the Ohio Democrat said.

Brown’s remarks came in response to the Obama administration’s most recent smoke-and-mirrors trickery that gives only the appearance of a realistic and timely remedy.

The administration’s carp czar John Goss announced last month that the federal government will spend about $50 million this year to shield the Great Lakes from the fiendish fish, including water sampling to see if Asian carp have already migrated into the lakes.

That plan, however, carries a time frame of five years for real action, time that would give the carp, whose importation from Asia to America has been outlawed, sufficient time to migrate from rivers in Illinois where they’ve been detected to the largest and most pristine body of freshwater in the world — the Great Lakes.

Physical barrier

Breaking that passageway by constructing a physical barrier between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin has been endorsed by every Great Lakes state except Illinois and by numerous environmental groups. Chicago-area business and political interests, however, have fought it aggressively. Many in Illinois endorse a pussy-footing approach, fearing disruption to the Chicago-area economy.

It’s long past time for the Obama administration to rise above such parochialism and stalling tactics from the president’s home state. Doing so only intensifies charges of political gamesmanship from the highest office in the land.

Instead it’s time for conscientious senators and representatives in Congress to act quickly to pass Sen. Brown’s legislation, the Stop Asian Carp Act. It would direct the Corps of Engineers to end in 18 months instead of five years its study of how best to separate the Great Lakes from the waterways around Chicago and halt the growing dangers posed by the carp.

The Great Lakes provide nearly 35 million people with drinking water, and they support tourism and fishing industries that generate an estimated $7 billion in economic activity each year.

Can we at last muster the will to stop the Asian carp’s potentially tragic assault on our ecosystem, or must we continue to let petty politics risk the very future of those natural and economic treasures to our state and our nation?


Comments

1NetBuddy(7 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I’m not sure what “trickery” the editorial is referencing. However it is obvious the writer is either ignorant of the facts or is intentionally misleading the public.

To imply Asian Carp would threaten the livelihood of 35 million people and contaminate the drinking water of the Great Lakes or cause a collapse of the fishery is pure CarpolaCr@pola.

Two weeks ago it was reported Asian Carp have had NO effect on fish populations In the Illinois River. In fact, last year produced an explosion of Sauger populations at "Carp Central" in the Illinois River. In addition, Asian Carp minnows were found in the stomachs of Illinois River Walleye indicating they are a food source for sport fish. This is contrary to what Senator Brown and the Vindicator would want us to believe however, fish surveys don't lie. Today it was reported that Ohio is going to stock Lake Erie with Sauger in an attempt to revive Sauger populations. Evidently the Illinois River with Asian Carp has a healthier fish habitat than Lake Erie!

Illinois is not the only state opposing physical barriers in Chicago. Indiana also opposes that strategy as it would destroy the supply line of commodities to steel mills and refineries in northern Indiana who supply materials to industries in Ohio and throughout the Great Lakes states. Yes, that strategy would hurt Ohio.

The Army Corp study will be completed by 2015 or earlier. Cutting short the study will only move the time table up 18 months. Cutting short the study will also deprive us of vital information as to how best to halt Asian Carp migration, not only through Chicago. but also down the Maumee River from Indiana and into Lake Erie. In the meantime, the electric barriers in Chicago will stop Asian Carp from migrating into Lake Michigan.

The strategy of severing Chicago’s waterways endorsed by the Great Lakes Commission would cost $4 billion-$9 billion for infrastructure and the total infrastructure, economic and environmental costs would be in the 10s of billions of dollars. It would also destroy a strategic waterway that would cost $11 billion dollars to construct today. and, pollute Lake Michigan with mercury and other toxic chemicals that would be a REAL threat to the fishery and drinking water in the Great Lakes. The Commission also ignores the fact that Asian Carp have been found in lakes and rivers throughout the Midwest that are completely isolated by dams, land bridges and sealed locks. In short, building a dam in Chicago will not solve the problem.

The Army Corps study will address all these issues to find the BEST way of addressing the Asian Carp issue and should not be cut short. The Stop Asian Carp Act is simply bad legislation motivated by “petty politics” that will stand in the way of finding an affordable, effective and feasible solution to the Asian Carp issue.

By sponsoring the Stop Asian Carp Act Senator Brown has become part of the Asian Carp problem rather than part of the solution.

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2hiker27(18 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

It is my thought that nothing can be done to prevent the carp from entering the lake. Waterfowl will transport the eggs of fish from one point to another as they have done for ever. How is it when you build a pond and fish mysteriously show up. How much money should we throw at this with no hope of accomplishment.
The great news of the Chicago River last year was upgraded enviromental status from toxic to hazardous. What an accomplishment.

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