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Asian carp: poison isn’t enough

Local conservation groups are praising efforts to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan by state and federal agencies, as they begin four days of dumping fish poison in the Cal Sag Harbor today.

A statement by six groups characterizes the fish kill as unfortunate but necessary — but calls for “planning for management of the Asian carp threat by other means.”

The emergency effort to stop the carp is a setback for recent gains in repairing long-term damage to the ecosystems of the Chicago waterway system, including the repopulation of rivers and canals by native fish, said Glynnic Collins of the Prairie Rivers Network.

Conservation groups believe the only permanent solution is to restore the ecological separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River water basins that was breached by the “Chicago diversion” over a hundred years ago.

It’s not just about carp, said Henry Henderson of the Natural Resources Defense Council; ‘the Chicago waterway system is a highway for invasive species moving in both directions,” most of which can’t be stopped by nets or electric fences.

“It’s time to get focused on moving the Great Lakes and Mississippi River out of harm’s way permanently before carp and dozens of other invaders wreak havoc in those massive freshwater ecosystems,” said Joel Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Also signing on the statement were Environment Illinois, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club.

At NRDC’s Switchboard, Thom Cmar has a somewhat more critical view – of the failure of government agencies to do a thorough search for Asian carp in the previous fish kill (last December in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal); and of the danger of those agencies bowing to pressure from local interests, which are promoting doubt about the science that warns of the carp’s progress toward Lake Michigan.

“We cannot allow this continuing food fight over how many Asian carp are present, and where, to distract from the need for a permanent, long-term solution,” Cmar writes.  “The Asian carp are really just the ‘poster child’ for a much larger, long-term problem: infrastructure” which leaves us open to the ecological and economic harm of a host of invasive species.

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Category: environment, Lake Michigan


One Response

  1. Tom Matych says:

    Once past the barrier there is no reason for Asian carp to stay in the SAG, the foods in the lake. Floods push food in the System from the lake, you might not know that but i assure you the fish do. The Asian Carp will thrive in the Great Lakes as there is no reason for them not too!

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