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Entries in Great Lakes (120)


Obama, Romney on Asian Carp

What do the presidential candidates think about the threat posed to the Great Lakes by Asian carp?

President Barack Obama has promised billions more dollars in aid and admonished the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to hasten its study.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, says the administration is moving too slowly.  According to the Christian Science Monitor, he has suggested that America put a man on the moon in less time than it’s taking to protect the Great Lakes from the exotic fish that have devastated many of the nation’s rivers and now threaten to enter Lake Michigan through a manmade connection.

Read more here.


Lake Erie Also at Risk for Asian Carp Invasion

Environment Report has produced a five-part series on Asian carp.

Part 3 deals with an alternative pathway for Asian carp to enter the Great Lakes. Most concern focuses on the canal connection between the Mississippi River basin and Lake Michigan near Chicago.

But to the east, in Indiana, Lake Erie is vulnerable.

Read about the danger here.


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


Mussels Fuel Algae Blooms That Smother Beaches, Shorelines

Bridge photo/John Russell

More graphic evidence of the damage that invasive species can do is on display right now at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. It is awash in decaying algae blooms.

Filter-feeding zebra and quagga mussels have increased clarity so much that sunlight can penetrate much deeper and, thus, generate more algae growth. Then, with cloud cover and cooler water at the end of summer, the blooms die and wash ashore.

"This is the worst I’ve ever seen this beach -- and I’ve been coming here for 50 years. It’s really sad," said Ron Long, a Milford resident who was visiting the popular Esch Road beach near Empire.

Read more here.



More Carp DNA Found in Lake Erie

Silver carp.

From Lake Erie’s Sandusky Bay and Sandusky River comes bad news about Asian carp.  Twenty of 150 water samples tested positive for the presence of silver carp environmental DNA.

DNA was collected as part of extensive sampling effort conducted earlier this summer for Asian carp in Sandusky Bay and Maumee Bay in western Lake Erie. Maumee Bay DNA results are being analyzed.

On the positive side, no Asian carp were found through intensive electrofishing and test netting.

These areas are among the most productive in Lake Erie, the warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. As a consequence, Asian carp invasion could be catastrophic for bass, walleye, and yellow perch fisheries. Through their filter feeding, the exotics eliminate food needed for forage species, collapsing the food chain.

Read the full story here about the DNA discoveries.

Go here to see a video about how to identify bighead and silver carp. If they don’t recognize them, anglers who seine their own bait could accidentally transport these invaders from one fishery to another.