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Print

Feds outline Great Lakes plan

February 22, 2010 at 08:45 AM

AP Environmental Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Obama administration has developed a five-year blueprint for rescuing the Great Lakes, a sprawling ecosystem plagued by toxic contamination, shrinking wildlife habitat and invasive species.

The plan envisions spending more than $2.2 billion for long-awaited repairs after a century of damage to the lakes, which hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the document, which Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was releasing at a news conference Sunday in Washington.

“We’re committed to creating a new standard of care that will leave the Great Lakes better for the next generation,” Jackson said in a statement.

Among the goals is a “zero tolerance policy” toward future invasions by foreign species, including the Asian carp, a huge, ravenous fish that has overrun portions of the Mississippi River system and is threatening to enter Lake Michigan.

Others include cleanup of the region’s most heavily polluted sites, restoring wetlands and other crucial habitat, and improving water quality in shallow areas, where runoff from cities and farms has led to unsightly algae blooms and beach closings.

Also promised is a strategy for monitoring the ecosystem’s health and holding federal agencies accountable for carrying out the plan.

During his 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama pledged $5 billion over a decade toward fulfilling a Great Lakes cleanup wish list developed by a coalition of agencies, scientists and activists.

Congress last year approved his request for a first installment of $475 million. The newly released plan assumes yearly appropriations of the same amount through 2014, except for the $300 million Obama requested this month in his 2011 budget.

The 41-page plan sets out ecological targets and specific actions to be taken by 16 federal agencies working with state, local and tribal governments and private groups.

Among the goals it hopes to achieve by 2014: finishing work at five toxic hot spots that have languished on cleanup lists for two decades; a 40 percent reduction in the rate at which invasive species are discovered in the lakes; measurable decreases in phosphorus runoff; and protection of nearly 100,000 wetland acres.

It also will help save species such as the lake sturgeon, a prehistoric fish that can reach 8 feet long and 200 pounds but is endangered because of overharvesting and habitat degradation. The plan promises to provide 25,000 young sturgeon for stocking programs.

Officials said the plan — combined with enforcement of existing environmental rules and the creation of new ones where needed — would help make Great Lakes fish safe to eat, their waters suitable for drinking and swimming, and their native plants and animals thriving.

The lakes provide drinking water to more than 30 million people and are the backbone of a regional economy dependent on tourism, outdoor recreation, shipping and manufacturing.

“We now have a golden opportunity, even a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to make huge progress,” Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, co-chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, said in a telephone interview Saturday. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. Now the federal government is putting some real resources behind it.”

Jeff Skelding, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which represents environmental groups across the region, praised the plan’s commitment to long-range funding for the restoration but said Congress should boost Obama’s 2011 spending request to $475 million.

The coalition also says too much restoration money is being diverted to fighting Asian carp, which could endanger the region’s $7 billion sport fishing industry by gobbling plankton and unraveling the food chain.

An “all-out effort” is needed to keep the carp out of the lakes, but funding should come from elsewhere in the federal budget, the coalition said.

Cameron Davis, EPA’s senior adviser on the Great Lakes, said about $58 million in restoration funds would go to the carp battle this year. But invasive species programs are getting less restoration money than other needs such as toxic cleanups and habitat improvements, he said.

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

Blah blah blah….throw money at a problem yet nothing will be done to fix it. Payoffs, bribes and political idiots will receive the money before anything actually begins….waste of F’N money and time.
Couldnt they kill all the fish in the locks each and everytime it’s open and closed…? Zap them or something?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/22 at 10:44 AM

Once again chicago politicians and the city of chicago will come out ahead because of this situation. Not once did it mention clean up of the river systems that were devastated by the asian carp. Like Ronbo said keep throwing money at it! I’m sure our loyal and honest state will spend it wisely! And I STILL wanna know what happened to the sewage treatment plant that had these carp escape. Seems to me that they’re getting off the hook a little to easy.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/22 at 12:12 PM

As soon as the wife retires we are moving out of State…good luck with that carp thingy..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/22 at 12:17 PM

I don’t see any money ear marked in the fight against V.H.S. (a Great Lakes fish virus) which could have a devastating impact on the sport fishing industry. I sure hope Asian Carp are susceptible to VHS. Furthermore, I don’t see Uncle Sam getting tough on ocean freighters that empty their ballast tanks into the Great Lakes which have brought many invasive species (i.e… sea lampreys, gobies, zebra mussells) into our waters.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/22 at 02:56 PM

dont like it move then you unpatriotic communistic whiners. i dont see one of you doing anything at all to fix the problem

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/22 at 05:17 PM

You can do something or you can do nothing. Are we part of the solution or part of the problem?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/22 at 07:46 PM

why did they build the canals anyway,it is not called the sanitary &ship; canal for nothing!we are the toilet of everybody that lives in chicago,maybe the carp will clean up the water,closing the locks wont stop the fish,you just know somebody has already dumped some of those carp in the lake already, i dont know what the answer is but they should try filling the river with big rock for 10 miles,with water tarp to filter the water and at least slow down the invasion,the barge companies dont care about anybody but the bottem line anyway,that is our river,look around the river and see the mess they make,we dont drink,swim or fish in asphalt,let them use the damn roads.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 06:39 AM

$2.2 BILLION!! What a waste of money!! Hussian Uh’Bama is a narcissist that NEEDS to thing that he is actually doing something great! What a JOKE!

Buckraiser, your entitled to your opinions.. even if they are WRONG! FYI… WE ARE doing something. WE ARE THE PEOPLE and we are voicing our disapproval of what our Government is doing with OUR money!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 08:07 AM

Unpatriotic?  Communistic?  You forgot to mention devil worshiper and wife beater and molester of baby birds….

I occasionally snag Asian carp down at Peoria lock and dam..no carp is returned alive.  What do you do to help Bubba?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 08:14 AM

Has anyone heard what type of fish they are netting
on the other side of the fence - or is that a secret.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 09:42 AM

Buckraiser if they’re paying taxes then their doing something. Now is throwing more funds at this a real solution or is it just to satisfy a campaign promise and take the heat off the local politicians, I guess time will tell. I just wish this insane spending would stop and this country would get its affairs together. BTW you should watch your lingo lest you end up in purgatory like the infamous Lungbuster lol.
BIGPOND if your asking what are they looking for it’s silvers& bigheads if it’s what their getting overall, (which I believe is your question) I haven’t heard anything.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 01:54 PM

It just seems they made such a big deal about
the netting - then I dont hear anything much about
it.
I would think they would be inventoring what ever
they catch. Let us know carp or no carp.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 02:42 PM

Take the money and build the locks taller and shut them. That would drain the river and flood Chicago kiling two birds with one stone! Save the native fish though—- their would be less of them to pick up. Then open locks up.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 03:48 PM

While the search yielded plenty of fish, including a substantial-looking regular carp, no Asian carp were found. The search is to continue for two to three weeks.
This was from an article posted on this site on 2/17/10. The IDNR has an asian carp rapid response site you can get to from its website. I don’t know if they are keeping track of anything but the carp since that’s what they are looking for, if they find some I’m sure we’ll hear the noise.

keb I don’t think thats an option.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/23 at 04:00 PM

Darn it!!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/24 at 09:35 AM

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