National Spotlight: Defending Against Aquatic Invasive Species Act of 2014February 11th, 2014
Earlier this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a report to Congress outlining eight options to prevent the invasive species, such as Asian carp, from entering the Great Lakes. The USACE expects the options for physical separation to cost over $15 billion and take 25 years to complete, due to flood control structures and tunnels that have to be constructed.
MUCC and the citizens who provided public comment on this report agreed that Asian carp will not wait 25 years, it only took them 20 to get from the southern Mississippi to the Chicago Area Waterway System.
In response, Congresswoman Candice Miller (MI-10) has introduced The Defending Against Aquatic Invasive Species Act of 2014, H.R. 4001, which specifically authorizes the Secretary of the Army to completely separate the hydrologic connection between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan and requires them to get started on construction within a year of its enactment.
While the $15 billion price tag for this project is a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the damage that Asian carp would cause to the Great Lakes fishery, which is valued at $7 billion annually. Without effective means to protect our Great Lakes and potentially inland waterways from this aquatic invasive species highway, the $4.8 billion in retail spending by sportsmen and women and the additional $3.2 billion per year in recreational boating-related spending and the economic ripple effect that spending has upon our state’s economy will falter along with our state’s tourism industry and the outdoor traditions that we treasure in Michigan.
We thank Congresswoman Miller for standing up in support of the Great Lakes, Michigan’s sportsmen and women and the conservation of our natural resources.
And now, its time to act! Whether you live, work, or play in the Great Lakes region and especially Michigan, we urge you to contact your members in Congress as well as our U.S. Senators to support this piece of legislation, H.R. 4001, and to support the funding necessary to undertake this initiative.