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Keeping Out the Carp and Containing the Invasion

As I pointed out in my previous post, keeping Asian carp and other aquatic exotic species from spreading is about more than implementing concrete, preventative measures, such as river barriers.

It’s also about public outreach and education from both government agencies and angling organizations.

But preventative measures also are needed, and, in the case of carp, that measure should be hydrologic separation of the Mississippi River basin from the Great Lakes.

Nature did not connect them; we did. And, in so doing we established a two-way highway for exotics: Zebra and quagga mussels moved out of the lakes and into rivers across the nation, while bighead and silver carp are knocking on the door of Lake Michigan.

And that’s just four species. Nearly 200 exotic species are established in the Great Lakes and will have easy access to the rest of the nation’s fisheries until we separate the two systems.

A new, privately funded study will show three ways to build barriers to separate the Mississippi River basin from Lake Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. It will be released in January, in hopes of spurring the Army Corps of Engineers to work faster on its own study, which won’t be completed until at least 2015.

Free Press says: “The plan would put one, three or five new permanent barriers into rivers around Chicago to block carp and other invasive species. The project might have to be built in phases over time, but could begin with a single one-way barrier that would stop carp. Later phases would stop invasive species going the other way, from Lake Michigan into the Mississippi River.”

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