The latest manifestation of a strategy by the federal government to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes carries a $50 million price tag but still no mention of separating the lakes from the Mississippi River basin.
That omission does not please a growing number of stakeholders who believe that the only way to keep the exotics from destroying Great Lakes fisheries is by eliminating the manmade connection between the two watersheds.
“I think we could take carp control more seriously by disconnecting the Chicago waterway,” said Jim Diana, director of Michigan Sea Grant and a fisheries professor at the University of Michigan. “In absence of that, we’ll have all these kinds of temporary solutions that might work.”
And just a few months ago, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said, “Ultimately, I think we have to separate the basins. I really feel that is the ultimate solution. We have to do it.”
Until that announcement at a meeting of Great Lakes governors, most thought that Illinois would continue to side with Chicago and the Obama administration in opposing disconnection of the waterways.
Although it doesn’t include separation, the new 2013 Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework does call for an improved electric barrier south of Chicago, as well as creation of barriers at other tributaries feeding the lakes, nearly two dozen of which have been identified as potential entry points. It also calls for expanded sampling and emphasizes testing of new tools, including water guns, netting, chemical controls, and pheromone attractants.
“This strategy continues our aggressive effort to bolster our tools to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, while we work toward a long-term solution,” said John Goss of the White House Council on Environmental quality, who oversees the initiative.
“The 2013 framework will strengthen our defenses against Asian carp and more innovative carp control projects from research to field trials to implementation.”
(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)