The following note comes from the Michigan TU Conservation Committee …
“Here is some important information for TU members and chapters regarding efforts to prevent the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin.
As you may have heard in the news recently, the US Supreme Court dismissed the last of the lawsuits filed by Attorney General Mike Cox, refusing to review the nearly 100 year old court decision which allowed the water diversion at Chicago that became what is now the Sanitary and Shipping Canal.
So, where do we go from here?
While the courts have done nothing to address the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes, federal agencies have been doing the work called for under the Federal Asian Carp Control Plan.
On May 5th, the Asian Carp Control Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) announced a three-month surveillance plan for determining the physical presence of Asian carp above the electrical barriers in the waterways of metropolitan Chicago. Here is the RCC’s press release for this operation:
This is an aggressive response to the eDNA evidence that has been discovered above the electrical barriers. Included in the plan is a major rotenone treatment of the main Chicago-area shipping canal and temporary closure of the O’Brien Lock later this month.
It shows the RCC is taking the eDNA results seriously and are doing a major surveillance operation ABOVE the electrial barrier to ‘fact-check’ the eDNA evidence. They don’t blindly believe the electrical barriers are doing the job.
The RCC’s plan quickly received criticism from Chicago waterway commercial interests (barge & tourboat operators) with regard to the temporary lock closure. To everyone else concerned with keeping the fish out of the Great Lakes, the three-month surveillance plan should be reassuring that the RCC is willing to respond to science-based evidence, taking actions that may be unpopular with some.
Is it everything needed to protect the coldwater habitat of the Great Lakes basin that wild trout/salmon depend on? No. Is it all happening fast enough? Definitely no.
But, it is happening. Unlike the courts, something is being done to prevent the carp from getting into the Great Lakes.
You can do something too!
This is an important time for the RCC to hear from anglers and everyone else across the Great Lakes who are concerned about the Asian carp threat.
Take a moment to send an email to the Asian Carp Control Regional Coordinating Committee. Send your comment to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- show your appreciation for the aggressive surveillance plan taking place above the electrical barrier, including temporary closure of the locks
- thank them for informing the public about the surveillance plan…now, how about telling us about the rest of the plan: flood barrier construction, bait sale controls; study of hydrological separation; study of operations/modifications to the locks; monitoring the other waterway connections to Lake Michigan; suppression of carp populations via commercial harvesting in the Illinois River.
A sample comment message can be found here, to help you with your comments.
Michigan TU Conservation Committee