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Entries in Great Lakes (121)

Wednesday
Oct242012

Asian Carp Pose Threat to All Great Lakes

If they gain entrance, Asian carp could find enough food and breeding areas to infest all five Great Lakes within 20 years, according to a recent risk analysis by scientists from the United States and Canada.

Additionally, authors of the report released by Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans Ministry suggested that just 10 mature females and even fewer males would be enough to establish a population within the Great Lakes. Previously, many theorized that at least hundreds of fish would be required.

“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?” Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), said in a released statement.

“Now we know the answers and, unfortunately, they are ‘yes’ and ‘yes.’”

No surprisingly, scientists still believe that the manmade connection between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River watershed is the most likely pathway for entry, an electric barrier notwithstanding.

But state and federal researchers recently reported that they have found DNA from Asian carp in Lake Erie,  suggesting that rivers and wetlands connected to that fishery might provide entrance as well.

Four samples from Sandusky Bay in Ohio waters tested positive for bighead carp, while two samples from north Maumee Bay in Michigan waters were positive for silver carp.

“The results from these water samples are certainly concerning, as this marks the first time Asian carp DNA has been detected in water samples from Lake Erie or any of the Michigan waters intensively surveyed for the presence of invasive carp,” said Jim Dexter, fisheries chief for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“Protecting the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp is critical to the health of our sport and commercial fisheries and to the quality of life in Michigan.”

The international analysis, meanwhile, projects carp would find Erie, Huron, and Michigan most to their liking, while infestation of Ontario and Superior would take longer.

(Reprinted from B.A.S.S. Times)

Thursday
Sep272012

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.

Monday
Sep172012

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.

Friday
Sep072012

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

Friday
Aug312012

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.