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Entries in carp DNA (4)


Close Canal to Stop Carp from Invading Great Lakes

Canal connection between Mississippi River basin and Lake Michigan. Photo by Gary Porter.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper agrees with me that the manmade connection between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes should be closed.

In an editorial headlined “Let science prevail in Fight over Chicago canal,” it says the following:

“The Army Corps of Engineers is looking more like a guy who can smell smoke but won't admit there's a fire because he can't see flames. The smoke is rising from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in the form of DNA evidence that the Asian carp is close to entering Lake Michigan, if it already hasn't done so.

“But with only two actual dead carp found - one on either side of an electrical barrier in the canal designed to stop the fish - Army Corps Maj. Gen. John Peabody isn't ready to do the obvious: close the canal that destroyed the natural barrier between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins when it was built in the 19th century.”

We must close that connection not only to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. We must close it because the canal is an open door for other invasions. For example, zebra and quagga mussels used that route --- as well as hitchhiking --- to spread into the Mississippi River and, from there, all across the country.

Read the editorial here


Carp Threat to Great Lakes Highlighted in New Report

A new report suggests that the Asian carp threat to Great Lakes fisheries could be greater than previously believed.

U.S. and Canadian researchers say that just 10 mature females and even fewer males could establish a population in all five lakes --- if they gain entry. Previously, some said that hundreds of carp probably would be needed for a successful invasion.

Michael Hansen, chairman of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, calls the report sobering.

"It concludes that arrival of Asian carp is looming, and should the fish become established in the Great Lakes, that their effects on the ecosystem would be severe."

"Ever since these non-native fish first escaped and began to breed prolifically in the rivers of the Midwest, the questions everyone has been asking are: 'Can a breeding population survive in the Great Lakes and would it be a significant problem if they did?'" said Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Now we know the answers and unfortunately they are 'yes and yes.'"

How might the carp gain entry into the Great Lakes? Most likely they will migrate into Lake Michigan through a series of canals that connect the Great Lakes to the Illinois River and the massive Mississippi River watershed. Already carp DNA has been found above an electric barrier intended to repel the invaders, just a few miles from Lake Michigan.

But now, sadly, carp DNA also has been found in Lake Erie.

“The results from these water samples are certainly concerning, as this marks the first time Asian carp eDNA has been detected in water samples from Lake Erie, or any of the Michigan waters intensively surveyed for the presence of invasive carp,” said Michigan DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still is pondering a strategy to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes.


Plan for Carp Control Will Be Too Little, Too Late

Ah, yes, the government is here to solve your problems. With 58 samples showing Asian carp DNA above the electric barrier and one live fish found there as well, the feds are going to spend $25 million and take until 2015 to study possible separation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin to keep the carp out of the lakes.

Check out the Times Herald story.

Journal Sentinel photo by Gary Porter

Meanwhile, chef Jimmy Wade at the Heaven City Restaurant in Mukwonago, Wis., says "Let them eat carp." Starting in February, his "invasivore" dinner menu will include carp cakes, smoked carp steak, and carp Napoleon.

Go Jimmy go!

Unfortunately, eating carp --- unless McDonald's adds an invasivore value meal --- is not likely to do much to diminish the population and the threat that Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes and their billion-dollar sport fishery.

But, then again, neither are actions by the federal government --- and we're wasting millions of dollars on that.


Michigan Continues Fight to Keep Carp Out of Great Lakes




Michigan has renewed its efforts to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes and potentially devastating a billion-dollar-sport fishery.

If carp are denied entry into the Great Lakes --- and, sadly, I don't think that they will be--- it will be despite the feds, not because of them. Alongside Illinois, they have put up barriers against the efforts of Michigan and other Great Lakes states, instead of against the carp, to keep them from migrating from the Mississippi River basin and into Lake Michigan through a manmade connection.

Already carp DNA has been found in mulitiple places above the electric barrier and a live carp was found above it as well. In response, the Obama administration appointed a carp czar and initiated a five-year study.

As a result, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that he will keep the pressure on to stop carp from entering the Great Lakes through Lake Michigan. In a press release provided me by Rick Balabon of the Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen's Association, Schuette said: