CHICAGO, IL- Invasive asian carp have passed a barrier near Chicago, just nine miles from Lake Michigan. These fish pose a great ecological threat to the Great Lakes, and there have been major efforts at preventing them from entering the lakes over the past few years. Now, with the threat of ecological disaster on the horizon, a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the carp is sitting unsigned on President Trump’s desk.
David Haynes at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
Asian carp have breached an electric barrier near Chicago and been discovered just nine miles from Lake Michigan, raising fears that an ecological disaster awaits the Great Lakes fishery.
And so far, the Trump administration is sitting on a plan that might stop the invasive fish.
The president must release that plan, even if Illinois politicians and business interests continue to try to block it.
Asian carp can grow to up to 100 pounds and eat 20% of their body weight in plankton every day, which could devastate a Great Lakes fishery worth billions of dollars, the Journal Sentinel’s Dan Egan has reported.
Last Thursday, a carp more than two feet long was pulled from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. While a regional committee working on the problem says there is no evidence yet that “a reproducing population of Asian carp currently exists” in the lakes, the discovery is ominous. Many biologists believe the carp could establish themselves in warmer, shallower bays and harbors if not in open waters.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has studied ways to use the Brandon Road navigation lock to establish a killing zone but barge operators in Illinois are opposed. So is Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti who was sharply critical of the idea in a commentary in the Chicago Tribune in February. “Building new bells and whistles at Brandon Road will cost too many taxpayer dollars,” she wrote.
Considering the cost to the Great Lakes economy could be far more than that, Sanguinetti appears to be just carrying water for her state’s barge business. As Egan noted, this is the second time an Asian carp has been found on the lake side of the electric barriers, which were poorly designed to begin with and have a spotty record of stopping carp.
Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.