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U.S. commits $78.5M to halt Asian carp

February 08, 2010 at 03:28 PM

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Navigational locks and gates in Chicago-area waterways may be opened less frequently than usual in a stepped-up campaign to prevent
Asian carp from overrunning the Great Lakes, federal officials said Monday.

The plan falls short of closing the navigational structures entirely, as demanded by Michigan and five other Great Lakes states. They fear the locks will provide an opening to the lakes for the giant carp, which some scientists say could devastate the region’s $7 billion fishing industry.

But the Obama administration described the plan as part of an effective strategy for keeping the invaders at bay while long-term biological controls are developed.

The government said it would spend $78.5 million and take 25 actions to slow the advance of the carp, which can reach 4 feet long and 100 pounds.

Invasive species have hammered the Great Lakes for decades and the Asian carp threatens to be particularly damaging, Nancy Sutley , head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said after talks with several governors from the region. “Today, we have an opportunity to work together to prevent environmental and economic damage before it happens,” she said.

Bighead and silver carp, Asian species imported to cleanse fish farms and sewage plants in the Deep South, have been migrating up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for decades. They have infested rivers and canals near Chicago, and their DNA has been detected in Lake Michigan itself.

The Supreme Court last month refused Michigan’s request to order the locks and gates closed, a move opposed by the Obama administration and Illinois. They argue that closing the locks would cause millions in losses for barge operators and could lead to flooding.

Michigan last week asked the high court to reconsider and is pushing ahead with a separate lawsuit that calls for permanently severing the century-old, man-made linkage between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. Joining Michigan in the dispute are Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The Obama administration’s strategy, announced Monday, calls for modifying operations of the navigational structures by April 30. It says four scenarios are being considered, including opening two primary locks for just three or four days a week, or closing the locks one week per month or every other week. Another option is continuing to operate them normally.

Officials said a $10.5 million contract will be awarded to build a third electric barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a crucial link with Lake Michigan. The two existing barriers emit pulses designed to repel the carp and give them a non-lethal jolt if they don’t turn away.

Also pledged was $13.2 million for construction of barriers to prevent the carp from bypassing the electric devices by slipping into the canal from the adjacent Des Plaines River during flooding.

An additional $9.5 million will be spent to promote commercial fishing of carp, research chemical treatments to kill off the carp if the electric barriers fail, and study other control techniques such as preventing carp from spawning or developing poisons that would kill the carp but not other fish.

Agencies also will speed up their analysis of DNA samples and continue exploring the waterways in hopes of determining whether Asian carp have actually gotten past the electric barriers - and if so, how many.

The carp battle involves the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the navigational structures; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Coast Guard. State and local agencies also are taking part.

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

Maybe they should have started eradicating them before they got into the Illinois RIver.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 05:20 PM

The carp WILL be in Lake Michigan before to long. Alot of money will be wasted in the meantime.
Illinois, Cook County, Chicago, Obummer…er, OBama and Democrats in charge of this = lots of money spent with no positive results.
Sad but true…......

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 05:25 PM

Amen Ronbo.  Given the quality of politicians chicago elects the great lakes are doomed.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 06:25 PM

Money down the rat hole..again.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 06:54 PM

$78.5 Million!! On top of what has already been wasted. That’s the liberal Democrats way of fixing things. Just make bigger and bigger government and then throw wads of money at it. I chuckled when I read that they are going to build a THIRD shock barrier. Why would a 3rd be any more effective then 2?! Answer: IT WON’T! And opening the gates 3 days a week? Oh, like that will stop the spread! WHAT A JOKE!! Face it, the Carp are headed to the Great Lakes!!! And we can all thank our politicians (on both sides of the isle) for serving nobody but themselves!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/09 at 07:21 AM

Spending money is not the democrats way, it’s the way off all politicians.  Repubs only complain about it when they aren’t the ones doing the spending.  Until we realize that neither party really cares about saving money, we’ll never get people like that out of office.  Either way, this is a pretty stupid plan.  Which gov’t agency will be in charge of letting the carp know which days the locks will be closed/open.  Is the plan to hope that the fish don’t swim as much on the days that they are open?  I say, close the locks or leave them open.  Do one or the other.  A series of half measures will not solve anything.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/09 at 08:43 AM

The next time you have a catfish dinner, ask if it’s river fish or pond-raised.  If yours is pond-raised you are supporting the industry that imported the asian carp, along with several others, coming to a river near you-SOON.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/09 at 08:44 AM

there here and I hate them..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/09 at 11:07 AM

i’m surprised the makers, sellers and users of pleasure boats arent’ more involved or vocal in this problem,we could use them on our side,the mississippi around here will be just like the illinois river within 5 or 10 years,just what i’d want to do is have a 50lb slimeball rolling around in a 20,000 dollar boat or having one jump out and hit a skier or tuber.the pleasure boat industry will take a hit.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/09 at 04:19 PM

Time: 1971. Place: Arkansas.

Grass carp, or white amur, were imported from eastern Asia to Arkansas in 1963 to control submersed aquatic vegetation in aquaculture ponds. Escapement from these aquaculture facilities occurred soon after importation and grass carp in the wild were first documented in the Mississippi River along Illinois in 1971.

Time: 1972. Place: Arkansas.

Bighead carp, native to the large rivers of eastern China, were first brought to the U.S. in 1972 by a private fish farmer in Arkansas to improve water quality and increase fish production in culture ponds. Bighead carp first began to appear in open public waters in the early 1980’s, likely the result of escapement from culture facilities.

Time: 1973. Place: Arkansas. (Is there a pattern here?)

The silver carp is also native to the large rivers of eastern China and looks and acts very similar to the bighead carp. Like bighead carp, silver carp were imported into Arkansas in 1973 for use as phytoplankton control in culture ponds and as a potential food fish.

As recently as 2002 the State of Arkansas and the “Catfish Farmers of Arkansas” were still fighting any rules on the export of these carp to anywhere in the country. Their position was that they have the right to sell them live, anywhere anytime. Last year under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, each Arkansas catfish farmer received a credit at the local feed mill for $100,000 to buy fish food. That is $100,000 of taxpayer money! This group has major clout in Washington and always has had. Their patron saint back in the 70’s when the carp were first imported into Arkansas was the Governor Dale Bumpers. He went on to be the senator from Arkansas. His famous quote was “When you hear someone say it is not about the money….......... it is about money”.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/10 at 08:27 AM

Colonel wrote:“Bighead carp, native to the large rivers of eastern China…”

That brings up a question…What efforts has China used to stop and or control the outbreak of these fish in their waters (if any.) And what effects has these fish had on their other native fish and aquatic animals?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/10 at 09:19 AM

China doesn’t want to stop an outbreak, in fact just the opposite they raise them along with India, Bandladesh, Iran, Cuba and several other countries as a food source and probably other things…say for export.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/10 at 11:45 AM

Maybe the Snakehead has an appetite for them?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/10 at 01:20 PM

Snakeheads have an appetite for everything. But hey keep the ideas coming.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/10 at 02:41 PM

they should make the fish farms that lost these fish pay for getting rid of them

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/13 at 05:23 PM

I think we should be able to shoot them out of a boat with firearms.  That would really reduce the numbers and it would be a lot of fun.  I live on the Mississippi River and was first introduced to these things about 10 years ago when one jumped out of the water and hit me in the chest.  We were cruising about 15-20 MPH if that happens on one of those tour boats in Chicago you will see action taken as well as lawsuits!!

Posted by Metallicat85 on 02/14 at 12:23 PM

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