Asian Carp Study ReleasedFebruary 2nd, 2012
The Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, with support from six funders, embarked on a project in July 2010 to identify engineering options for Chicago’s waterway system that will prevent interbasin movement of aquatic invasive species, including Asian carp.
The expedited study, just released this week, also examines potential improvements to the waterway’s roles in commercial navigation, recreational boating, flood and stormwater management, and water quality.
This study shows that permanent separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins to stop the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species is not only possible, but also critical to improve and enhance Chicago’s water infrastructure and protect the Great Lakes. The report offers 3 alternatives to provide a permanent separation barrier, along with a range of water quality and infrastructure enhancements with price tags from $3.26 to $9.54 billion. Given that this investment would protect the Great Lakes’ annual $7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry and Michigan’s tourism economy, we feel that it’s a necessary investment.
Last year, Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp introduced the Stop Asian Carp Act, legislation requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to create an action plan with strategies for permanently separating the Mississippi River Basin from Lake Michigan to keep the invasive species out of our waters. The legislation required the full plan be completed and given to Congress 18 months after being enacted. The report released this week, similar to the one the Stop Asian Carp Act would require, was completed within the 18 month time frame, demonstrating that the action plan the bill calls for can be completed in a timely fashion.
Stabenow, Camp and leaders of Great Lakes organizations, including MUCC, urge the Army Corps to move swiftly and build off the work in the report released this week. After all, the future of Michigan outdoors and tourism could depend on it.