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Michigan still wants locks closed

June 04, 2010 at 03:28 PM

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox isn’t giving up on closing Chicago shipping locks to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

A spokeswoman said Friday that Cox is still considering his options, including filing additional lawsuits.

The U.S. Supreme Court has twice refused Michigan’s request to order closure of two locks on Chicago waterways.

And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday ruled out closure, except for brief periods to support measures such as dumping poisons where Asian carp are believed to be lurking.

Some fear the locks could provide a pathway for carp to Lake Michigan.

Scientists say if the carp become established in the Great Lakes, they could starve out popular sport fish such as salmon and walleye.

Meanwhile, John Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes says lock closure as a long-term strategy won’t work. He says it’s time to design and build a permanent separation between the lakes and the Mississippi River basin to stop invasive species.

He calls for constructing permanent physical barriers between the lakes and the river basin at strategic locations.

But a coalition of industry, labor and agriculture says a grand engineering solution would be too expensive.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ruled out regular lock closures Thursday, saying occasional closures may be needed for spreading fish poison.

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

Standingcorn- the Mike Cox thing was fantastic!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/04 at 06:33 PM

what he said

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/06 at 12:19 AM

My hope is they can be contained.  To think its only a big lake issue is the battle versus the war.  They may not thrive is Lake MI.  They do not have too.  They just have to make it to the next entry point.  Eventually, these fish will populate every tributary of all great lakes.  That is a lot of rivers and inland lakes that can become ‘affected’.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/06 at 01:00 PM

I think we all have to remember that politics trumps biology. Citizens tell politicians “you need to do something about these Carp”. Politicians tell DNR’s “You need to do something about these Carp” The the following will usually take place: #1 A “TASK Force” will be formed. This is just a cover name for management by bureacracy. #2. A study will be funded. This makes certain that the bureacracy can survive. #3. As requested by the citizens and the politicians…..... something will be done- even if it is wrong.

The Asians are permanant residents now of the IL. and Miss. Rivers and the feeder tributaries. They will establish (and thrive) in Rend, Carlyle and Shelbyville. Looking at history, they should ultimately spread to the same waterways/lakes that the common carp did.My whole thing about the minnow/fry issue is to protect the other lakes in the state, that have a chance to remain Asian free, for as long as possible. I know that it is just a small part, but it seems like a no brainer to me.

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

Did John Henry get censored AGAIN!?!?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/06 at 06:33 PM

Part of the issue is that the politicians dont seem overly concerned about any other lakes but Lake Michigan.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 07:32 AM

Murdy- my intended point was that frequently the result is that what gets done is not the right thing. Rather something is done just so they can say they did something. An example would be where bullets fly over the berm at a shooting range because the berm is too short. The bullets go into an adjacent state park. Politicians tell DNR to “do something” about the problem. DNR closes the state park. Now in my mind, the right thing to do would have to fix the berm to the proper height. That way the range can stay open and the state park can stay open. I don’t know if closeing the locks is the right or wrong thing to do, but here we have a politician from Michigan, on his third run at the courts, “doing something”. Now 2 different times already he has had the chance to present any evidence he has, “experts” and testimony that this is the right thing to do, and the courts have not agreed. But from his standpoint, it keeps his name in front of his constituents, he is “doing something” for the Michigan voter. Frequently, that is the most important objective. Only time will tell if this “doing something” was the right thing or a total waste of resources that diverted efforts away from a more productive response. I don’t know if anyone has the right answer or response (or even if there is one).

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 07:49 AM

Captain Bill, you’re right on target with many of your points.  I’ve echoed the same facts on past related articles posted on this website.  I’m a cooperative resource agency team member involved with the sampling and research that’s been conducted in recent years.  Another article that references our data can be viewed at: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-a-environment/101209-carp-catastrophists-come-up-empty-handed

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 08:47 AM

I guess when you get right down to it, there are three critters that can out adapt anything man throws their way, Carp, Coyotes and Cockroaches. The 3 C’s.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 04:18 PM

Its just like the global warming freak out, just a way for people to in power to use any situation to gain control over everyone else.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 05:24 PM

Murdy, but the data is conclusive on asian carp that they a. need water then 70 degrees to spawn and the great lakes very rarely get that high, b.they also need running water to spawn. ahh screw it you arent gonna listen to scientific data or go look it up, your just gonna argue a point that makes no sense at all. Seriously if there is already an effective block in place then why worry bout ruining peoples lives by closing where they work because your to lazy to look for the research or listen to people who show it to you.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 07:46 PM

Murdy, you asked if the collected data could be posted.  I’d like to see the information made available to the public, but its my understanding the attorneys on both sides of the argument and some state agencies involved won’t release the entire collection of data until the potential lawsuits are resolved. 

I share your concerns and don’t want to see the Asian or Big Head Carp move any further upstream.
The main things that concern me are:  I’m not 100% convinced by the eDNA results.  I don’t discount the fact that Asian Carp DNA may have been detected in water samples taken upstream of the barrier.  Even though the technology is relatively new and not conclusively proven, my bigger concern with the method is related to the environment its being used in.  It’s very possible that the DNA, which is present in the protective slime on fish, entered the river current and moved upstream of the barrier to provide false readings of the species presence.  The University of Illinois conducted studies showing flowing water has different densities and flow patterns.  Heavier water, which is typically cooler water stratified below layers of warmer water, can be moved in opposite directions.  The cooler/heavier water stays near the river bottom and has been shown to flow in opposite upstream directions.  River training structures and other introduced river features also cause eddies and turbulence that can cause flows to travel upstream with under currents.  The eDNA test picks up trace amounts of DNA in levels near parts per million.  It’s possible that DNA off of the Asian Carp slime mixed with the turbulent and heavier density flows.  The river flows containing trace amounts of DNA from Asian Carp located below the electrical barrier could have moved upstream, above the electrical barrier.  This possibly explains the eDNA tests’ positive results for presence of fish above the barrier, even though no fish have been seen or collected by various capture methods above the barrier.  I’m not saying its impossible for Asian Carp to pass upstream of the barrier by some means, but in my opinion I didn’t see enough proof from our current collection efforts and based on U of I’s study information on river current patterns.  The Corps of Engineers also has some similar data showing river flows can be reversed upstream for certain distances.  It wouldn’t take major disturbances like these to mix DNA with flows to provide false location detection.

  On average, a 60 to 70 pound Asian Carp will consume 30 pounds of plankton per day.  They also congregate and prefer moving warmer water with heavy populations of plankton.  I don’t think the Great Lakes would support their life cycle based on water temperature and low plankton populations. I am concerned the Carp would get into feeder tributaries and lakes with more suitable habitat upstream of the Great Lakes.  Whether enough carp temporarily survive in the Great Lakes before they find access to the tributaries and feeder lakes is an unknown.  We’ve had differing opinions regarding my concern of disrupting aquatic life passage, migration routes and other environmental impacts associated with installing additional types of barriers to stop the Asian Carp.  My opinion is based on my normal work area in the Middle Mississippi River and Illinois River basin where Asian and Big Head Carp are present in overwhelming numbers.  We’ve conducted studies on fish congregation patterns below barriers and fish potential to pass over or through those barriers.  Besides Asian Carp, the majority of fish species congregate at lock and dam structures that act as upstream migration barriers.  We have tagged various species of fish with small balloons and other telemetry tracking chips in various flow conditions.  When high water and flood events occurred, or when tainter gates are opened and other potential passages are available, many of the tagged fish species, including the Asian and Big Head carp had enough burst speed and swim endurance to pass through openings or over the barrier during high water and over topping flood events.  At different times of the year it isn’t uncommon to find thousands of fish congregating below these structures until an opportunity presents itself to make passage possible.  Depending on the type, number and locations of the barriers proposed, they could have other potential negative impacts.  I’m not saying those impacts are greater or less than possible Asian Carp passage damages, but the potential additional barriers will do environmental damage and disrupt other species.

  I’ve previously discussed the known problem of Asian and Big Head Carp inadvertently being collected for bait with throw nets and seines.  These species of carp are difficult to tell apart when collected in their juvenile life sizes when mixed in nets filled with similar sized bait fish, particularly shad.  At the end of the day fishermen unknowingly discard unused bait into different waters where they transport the juvenile sized carp and bait.  I think it’s very possible the fish will be introduced above the electrical barrier or any other proposed barriers by these means in the future. Whether that’s enough reason to discard the idea of installing additional barriers or pay millions of dollars for temporary protection will be decided by the different cost estimates associated with fishing industry related losses and shipping industry related losses.  The judges recent decisions appear to be leaning against additional barriers but that could change with years of injunctions from both sides. 

To save time, money, staff hours and reduce fish kills by trapping and poisoning efforts, I’d like to see the various agencies working on this matter use the same fish tracking methods that we use to track pallid, shovelnose and lake sturgeon in the Middle Mississippi River.  We inject microchips in collected fish before they are released back into the river.  We have installed telemetry tracking devices on bridges, lock and dams and other river structures that record when a microchipped fish passes the monitoring stations.  The monitoring device automatically uploads the data by satellite and tells us the specific time, location and which fish passed the area.  It’s much cheaper and less labor intensive than the efforts that have been expended on the Asian Carp studies.  Asian Carp could be collected below the existing electrical barrier and be injected with the same type of microchip.  The telemetry tracking stations could be installed on various structures above the electrical barrier to prove whether or not the Asian Carp are making it upstream.  There would be no doubts associated with this method compared to the different arguments about the reliability of eDNA testing.  This wouldn’t solve the problem of how to control the species if it passes the barrier, but it would provide conclusive evidence whether the fish is passing the barrier or not.  More importantly it would save the tax payer and researchers significant time and money while the potential legal battles and injunctions continue for years to come.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 09:43 PM

Murdy, I understand how a person can doubt anyones credentials on an open forum site.  I’ve been a fisheries biologist for a little over 20 years and enjoy the work and public interaction.  As for the second question about barrier influences, it all depends on where they potentially install the barriers. 
  There’s been a lot of internal speculative discussions on the number of barriers that might be required and where they would be installed.  If the barrier(s) are only proposed in the artificial Chicago canal, then it wouldn’t be a significant issue.  Hypothetically speaking, if a judge rules multiple barriers would be required in different waterways that connect or are influenced by natural tributaries, then I think it has the probability to cause aquatic impacts and disrupt migration of native species.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/07 at 10:31 PM

ranger522- What do you think about my concerns that commercial minnow harvest is still allowed? Given the fact that there are at least 4-5 crews doing it around LaGrange lock, and they would not be doing it if they did not have markets buying them. Is this not the vector by which non-contaminated lakes will be rapidly stocked with Asians? I have expressed my concern over this with Springfield and the possibility that this would be done intentionally. By that I mean commercial fishermen intentionally stocking Silver into waters that currently are off limits to commercial fishermen. They could then use the presence of the Silvers as an excuse to get previously off limit waters opened to commercial fishing. Your thoughts?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/08 at 06:58 AM

Aquatic telemetry has seen a lot of advances and holds a lot of promise. I’m surprised fewer academic institutions haven’t begun these studies in the Chicagoland area yet (if they have already, then I’m not aware of it). I can recall a few researchers from SIU doing similar work on the Asian carp in the Mississippi River in 2002-2003. End result: fish move. I think one of the main reasons why this approach has not gained as much popularity in the Chicago region is because the species has become such a threat that people don’t want to release them after they’ve been caught. Plus, any inferences made by a telemetry study are limited by the sample size…in other words, there’s still a chance of false negatives (there’s always a chance for false negatives). Despite these disadvantages, I still believe that such an approach would be a worthwhile endeavor considering how much has already been spent on the rotenone and survey efforts.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/08 at 07:48 AM

Murdy, this link here will show through tracking that they arent found in water any deeper then 12 foot, that they need flowing water to reproduce in and minimum speed of the water they need also they have only been found reproducing in water 22 degrees celcius/71.6 degrees or higher.
http://fishdata.siu.edu/degrand.pdf
This next few links show no carp have been found past the electric barrier showing we already have an effective means of keeping them from going any further
http://blog.taragana.com/science/2010/03/29/6-week-search-yields-no-asian-carp-in-chicago-waters-past-barrier-meant-to-protect-great-lakes-9412/
And ok with all this against the carp, wrong water temps and speed for reproducing, the fact they cant get past electrical barrier this next link shows there might not be enough for them to eat and here is a quote from it first “There is one environmental glimmer of hope. Some research indicates Asian carp might find an inhospitable environment in the Great Lakes. Scientists say there may not be enough plankton to feed the hungry fish. “
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-6186375-503544.html

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/08 at 10:03 AM

I think ill go trademark the word “Carptastrophe” right now

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/08 at 05:42 PM

Colonel, I’m not familiar with individuals commercial minnow fishing because it doesn’t occur in my area. The IDNR requires permits for commercial harvesting and selling of certain fish species, so hopefully they monitor the method and locations you’re describing.  If what your describing is for commercial minnow harvest, it doesn’t sound like a good idea to do it in waters that have known Asian Carp populations.  The IDNR was successful making it illegal to net or seine bait fish in the Big Muddy tailwater below Rend Lake.  I believe the Carlyle Lake tailwater will be the next restricted area.  The commercial fishermen who obtained permits to fish for Asian and Big Head Carp in the Kaskaskia River tailwater below Carlyle Lake had problems finding buyers.  The commercial fishermen get approx 10 cents a pound for them and have to transport them long distances to the processing plant. The higher fuel prices to truck them to the processor didn’t make it a very profitable venture.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/08 at 09:16 PM

Murdy, i had read some of the statements you posted about them living in swamp plains and in some of the resevoirs you were talking about, i had researched the ones i could and most of the resevoirs were shallow and in a lot warmer climate and nowhere did i find that carp had taken over the ecosystyms there. I do agree that even so they didnt find any carp past the barrier doesnt mean they are not there but if they are they are few and far between. With the barrier in effect the carp would first have to pass it to get to the great lakes, then pass it a second time to breed. I just find there is way to many things going against the asian carp for them to establish an overwhelming population in the great lakes and also blocking 1 way into the great lakes wouldnt prevent them from getting in tons of other ways if they really wanted to. Nothing is 100% conclusive but i dont find enough reason anywhere to close the shipping canal and i would find it highly unlikely they would go against everything that is scientifically known about them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/09 at 05:07 PM

Ditto. Science. For once. smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/09 at 08:57 PM

My post can beat up your post…nah nah nah nah…j/k

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/09 at 10:18 PM

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with one of the DNR Fish Biologists. It is scarey where the Silvers are turning up in his samples. Looks like the small ones (sub-6 inch) are running up small creeks you can jump across, and even ones that dry up at times. 30 or more miles inland from the rivers. He also painted a pretty poor outlook for commercial fishing or processing plants being able to help. At .10 per pound (when the plants will take them) fishing costs/boat operations and especially transport costs exceed the price paid for them. During the discussion another method of introduction into waterways came up. During the time that the carp are spawning, if a commercial crew has 2000 pounds of mixed males and females on board and are hauling them down the highway. The eggs/sperm leak and mix in the boat. Most crews run with the plugs out of their boats when trailering on the highways to the processors. If this was done at the right time of the spawn, and the transport was done during a rain, viable fertilized eggs could be washing out of this boats and washed into any waterway. Now that is a bad possibility. He was also familiar with the Asian study on the lower Illinois River and said it was a good study. He did caution not to read too much into the depths that Asians preferred to use in that study (12 feet or less). He said that where the study was conducted, most of the water is 12 feet or less. Bigheads in particular, will use water much deeper if it is available (depending on time of year)

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/10 at 09:24 AM

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