More bad news regarding aquatic invasive species. So what else is new?
First, the U.S. Geological Survey says in a June 18 report that four tributary rivers of the Great Lakes have conditions conducive for successful spawning by Asian carp. They include the Milwaukee and St. Joseph Rivers on Lake Michigan and the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers on Lake Erie.
Of course, the Asian carp must enter the Great Lakes first --- if they haven’t already.
Regarding that situation, a little good news does exist: The governor of Illinois says that he is in favor of severing the manmade connection between the Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River basin.
“Ultimately, I think we have to separate the basins,” Pat Quinn said. “I really feel that is the ultimate solution.”
Until now, Illinois has sided with Chicago, Indiana, the Obama administration, and commercial navigation interests in opposing separation. Most of the other Great Lakes states want separation to protect the system’s billion-dollar fishery from Asian carp.
Additionally, separation would prevent migration of other invasive species in the future into and out of the Great Lakes.
The second piece of bad news is that a live zebra mussel has been found in Texas’ Lewisville Lake, less than a year after an established population was confirmed in Lake Ray Roberts, just a few miles to the north. Likely the mussel was brought in on a boat hull or trailer, but it could have drifted down the Elm Fork of the Trinity River.
Mussel colonies can clog water intakes, costing metropolitan areas like Dallas/Fort Worth millions of dollars in maintenance costs over time to protect water supply reservoirs.
No matter where they are fishing, anglers should conscientiously inspect their boats and trailers when leaving a lake or impoundment to be certain that they are not about to transport these shellfish and other invasives. If voluntary compliance isn’t enough to stop the spread, access restrictions inevitably will follow.