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Corps rejects closing locks

June 03, 2010 at 04:14 PM

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Federal officials on Thursday ruled out closing Chicago-area shipping locks on a regular basis, saying it probably would not stop dreaded Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes but could damage the local economy.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said anything short of permanently closing the two locks was unlikely to make a difference in the battle to prevent the voracious fish from gaining a foothold in Lake Michigan. That alternative will be part of a long-range study of whether to sever ties between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems, the Corps said.

The decision after months of study dashed the hopes of Michigan and neighboring states, which have unsuccessfully asked the Obama administration, Congress and the Supreme Court to order immediate closure. Supporters fear the locks will provide an easy path to the lakes for bighead and silver carp, which biologists say could starve out native species and ruin the $7 billion fishing industry.

Illinois government and business leaders resisted, saying closure would cripple Chicago shippers and tour boat operators while costing the local economy $4.7 billion over two decades. They questioned the reliability of DNA evidence suggesting the carp have overrun electronic barriers on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, part of a network of waterways eventually linking the lakes and the Mississippi.

“After rigorous scientific and technical review, it’s clear that shutting down Chicago’s waterways is not an effective solution,” said Rep. Judy Biggert, an Illinois Republican.

Col. Vincent Quarles, commander of the Corps’ Chicago district, said the agency considered several scenarios for regularly scheduled lock closures and openings. For example, they could be closed three or four days a week, or every other week.

“In the end, the analysis showed that using measures such as temporary lock closures will do very little to reduce the risk of Asian carp migration,” Quarles said.

In two reports issued Thursday, the government promised more modest steps, including completion of a third electronic barrier this year.

The Corps also will place screens near one of the locks, which already has been done at the other, and will study other technologies that could scare away the carp such as placing lights and noisemakers in the waterways, Quarles said.

The Michigan attorney general’s office, which has led the push for lock closure, said those measures were too little, too late.

“It’s just disappointing seeing things like this being portrayed as real action to confront the Asian carp threat when in reality so much more needs to be done,” spokeswoman Joy Yearout said. “It’s generating a false sense of security.”

Quarles said the locks might be occasionally closed for short periods to assist operations such as the spreading of fish poison in a section of the waterways last month, which killed 100,000 pounds of fish but turned up no Asian carp.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

From the latest press release:
“The ACRCC (Asian Carp Regional Coordinating
Committee)includes representatives from the City of Chicago, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
These partners are working to address the threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes through the development and implementation of the ACCSF (Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework). The Framework, which is guided by the latest scientific research, is expected to encompass more than two dozen short and long-term actions and up to $78.5 MILLION IN INVESTMENTS (TAX DOLLARS) TO COMBAT THE
SPREAD OF ASIAN CARP.”

That’s a lot of money these agencies get to divide up. There should not be any layoffs or downsizeing in those agencies for a while with all the Carp Cash flowing in. Not to mention all the college and university professors that will get their cuts to conduct studies and research.
That Carp Cash pot though is probably not correct. They spent 6 million dollars already on the first netting/poisoning operation, so the pot is probably down to 72.5 million.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/04 at 07:54 AM

Something that I cannot understand at all in the Asian carp discussion is why the DNR is still allowing commercial fishermen to seine and take minnows from the Illinois and Mississippi River systems? There is no way that the commercial fishermen are sorting (or able to) very small Silver and Bighead carp fry out of those seine hauls. They are going to be mixed in with the shiners and chubs, and hauled to bait shops all over the state. Unknowing fishermen will then be hauling them to every body of water in the Midwest. It seems like to me that putting a ban on this would not cost the state a dime and could actually help keep the exotics out of some of the waters. Mandate that the minnow supply only come from fish farms and hatcheries (and inspect them so we don’t have an Arkansas repeat performance).

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/04 at 09:57 AM

Note to ‘The Colonel’.  I had to double check this with a friend who owns a bait shop.  It’s illegal for a bait shop in IL to sell minnows that cannot be traced to managed and inspected minnow farms.  It has been for at least 15 years (that’s how long he’s been in the business).    DNR does the enforcement and the Dept of Ag does the minnow farm inspections.  Bait shop owners are required to maintain the records of their purchases (typically thru a distributor) and the distributor has to maintain purchase records thru minnow supplier (grower).

That’s not to say you don’t have some bait shops or individuals who are doing this illegally, but I don’t think you have to worry about ‘commercial fishermen’ seining in Asian infested waters and trucking them all over the state.  Mother Nature is doing that quite well on her own….  wink

Just trying to clear up a misconception….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/04 at 10:31 AM

I understand what you guys are saying- however there are no less than 4-5 crews of commercial fishermen that are doing the “minnow” thing regularly at the LaGrange Lock. The place is infested with Asians. This has been reported to DNR with a response of “it’s legal to take minnows, thanks for your call”. They are not takeing them home and putting them in an aquarium. They are winding up in bait shops somewhere. Minnows are sold by the pound- very easy for a bait shop to fudge the records- Mr. DNR guy- how many pounds of minnows are really swimming in this 1000 tank? My paperwork says, 10 pounds, so thats what there must be. And the Dept of Ag doing the fish farm inspections?, now that is a total sense of comfort. Ag has NEVER been an enforcement oriented agency- they are set up to enhance any form of production agriculture- not restrict it.

Rat58- I don’t doubt what your bait shop owner is telling you about supplies must come from inspected minnow farms…...... but that proves my point. If they are supposed to only get minnows from an inspected minnow farm then why does the DNR allow the commercial harvest of minnows from the rivers? If they are not supposed to be sold to the bait shops- why are they doing it?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/04 at 12:03 PM

colonel - I don’t have an answer for you.  You had asked why they don’t put a ban on commercial harvest and mandate they only come from minnow farms.  I was just trying to point out that they already have such a ban.  I would assume that legal commercial harvest of minnows is okay from the standpoint that there may be other uses for them beyond selling as ‘minnows’ in a bait store.  As to the enforcement - I would suggest that the state’s DNR enforcement is already stretched thin enough and I suspect if they knew that was happening then they’d try to act on it.  I don’t believe I suggest that Dept of Ag is enforcing anything - only inspecting.  I don’t know who they report to but I would guess they have the ability to shut down a minnow farm if they suspect they’re not following the rules - but that’s not gonna do anything to keep the unscrupulous baitshop owners from selling minnows from contaminated sources.  I can see standing corn’s point that there’s myriad ways for Asians to get into the great lakes.  But I guess likewise, they have to try to do something to slow things down.    It’s scary to think what’s happened on our rivers.  I’ve read the reason they’re ‘in check’ over where they came from is from fishing pressure.  Hopefully, the guys developing the markets will be able to have enough impact to put a dent in the populations and keep them under control.  If they do that and generate additional good paying jobs at the same time then I guess it’s a win (sort-of) for everybody.  I’m scared to death to run a boat down there anymore.  Too many of them suckers end up in the boat with me and with all the accidents happening….  Jeez - at least the zebra mussels didn’t knock you out of the boat…..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/04 at 03:04 PM

Go out with a bang Troll!  Piss on PSO, Bowsite is the place to be!  Mark Limpdick!!  What a schmoee!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/05 at 11:59 PM

Wow amazing that someone whose direct income is derived from fishing states the same point standing corn made. Wonder where Andy meador is to call him a troll too. Excellent post Captain.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/06 at 12:23 AM

You know what they say about hindsight. I’d still rather be proactive than reactive.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 07:13 AM

Murdy, at the risk of of getting skewered on this board, i agree with the captain. Should we close the locks, put thousands of people out of work in an already bad economy on a possibility and not a fact. It is scientifically true what he said and asian carp have no reason to go into the great lakes and wouldnt survive very long and soon as the food supply would slow down they would go back to where there is more food which is back in the river. There is no scientific or biological reason for a carp to enter the Lake Michigan. I say they should spend the money they are using to prevent this and research this and use it on figuring a way to make a market for the ones in the river systems already and make more jobs.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 07:38 AM

...and few could have guessed that a flood in the early 1990s would have had such a devastating impact to the Mississipi River system and tributaries. Hindsight is a *****. Hmmm. I wonder how many other potentially suitable tributaries currently uninhabited by asian carp exist in the Great Lakes region. Nah, that’s impossible. Inconceivable. Or is it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 01:34 PM

A zebra mussel lives on bottom and eats very little a day a carp eats about half its body weight a day and lives in the top 10 feet of water column. Plus carp need running turbulent water to breed which is why they mostly inhabit rivers and have not taken over any lake that i know of even so they have gotten into a few lakes. The problem is once the locks are closed no new jobs will be created, the ships will just find another port to land in such as in Michigan which has ports sitting empty at the moment that can handle the flow. You ever ask why they are the only state trying to get locks closed and not any of the other 5 states that border the great lakes. Ohio has had asian carp for long as us and has no barriers and in last 10 years 3 dead carp have been found in Lake Eerie and no live ones. Its been close to 20 years since the carp have been in our river systems, if they were gonna get into the Great Lakes i think they would have done it for now and most of this is just politics, greed and misinformation. I suggest that people read as much as they can about asian carp and not just take a politicians word for it and then maybe they will understand why this is all just a wild goose chase

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 01:43 PM

ShelbyHuntr hate to tell ya most of the tributarys to the great lakes are already inhabited by asian carp already, there is very few that arent and those ones are basically streams or have dams that have prevented the carp from getting any further. If there is asian carp all the way in ohio and pennsylvania then trust me they are everywhere in between that will support them and they have not gotten to the great lakes yet because its just not a suitable habitat for them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 01:52 PM

Looks like there is still great potential to other Great Lakes tributaries (and I know of some in the states of MI and WI that are suitable with little to no barriers):  http://www.pserie.psu.edu/seagrant/ais/images/bighead2010map.JPG

http://fl.biology.usgs.gov/Carp_ID/carp_id_plate_7a.jpg

There’s a chance….is it worth taking?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 02:03 PM

Definately not enough of a chance to put thousands of Illinoisians out of work and cost the economy billions of dollars based on scientific data. People are making it seem like the Chicago locks are the end all and the only thing that will stop the carp and its far from the truth, they are in hundreds of tributaries already that are not blocked off from the Great lakes and there is no huge push to block all them off. All you usually see in this discussion is the Chicago locks and nothing else and none of the other hundreds of tributarys the carp are in with nothing to stop them from entering the great lakes even so they arent entering the Great lakes. I saw you mention Wisconson and most of there rivers run into the mississippi so its foolish to think that if the carp make it up there they wont enter from the riverside and not the lake side.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 02:41 PM

Even if they got in the Great Lakes and found enough food to eat which is highly doubtful, they cannot breed in a lake so there is no fear of them overtaking the Great Lakes or any lakes in general. They are a river fish even so they had them in ponds which started this whole travesty, they did not breed in those ponds.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 02:44 PM

Whatever, think what you want im done arguing with people who cant read scientific data about the fish and where they live.THEY ARE A RIVER FISH YOU TWIT. They arent gonna close the locks anyway so move on with your life. They have poisoned the area from the electric barrier to the lakes twice and have done numerous nettings and ZERO fish were found yet you guys still are wanting them to close the locks with ZERO scientific data that supports they A. would live there B. that them living in lakes is against the fishes nature since they are a river fish. C. that there is different layers in the water column and that the top layer is basically devoid of plankton and thats where the carp live, the mussels live in a different area of the water column and do not need alot to eat and they dont grow in some areas because of lack of food. D. that the Chicago shipping canal isnt the only way for carp to get into the lakes,if they wanted to get in there at all and to this date they havent. E. go research how many tributaries there is of the mississippi that reach that have access to the great lakes and go ask why arent any of those being closed off. Instead you want to put thousands of people out of work, cause alot of them to lose what they worked hard for because you THINK their is a possibility even so you have not researched anything about this fish and will not find a biologist who knows anything about the fish to agree that they would live in the lakes.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 03:56 PM

Grass carp were released at the same time and they are already in the great lakes because they can live there reproduce and eat vegetation not plankton. The big head and silver carp have no desire to live in a lakes even so found in them at times will not reproduce.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 04:05 PM

sent pm in the fishing forum

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 07:54 PM

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