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Carp keep coming

Environmental groups are saying the new discovery of a breeding population in the Wabash River near Fort Wayne – downstream of a floodplain that separates the Wabash from the Maumee River and Lake Erie – “signals the immediate need for effective leadership on a crisis that has moved well beyond the control of the federal agencies tasked with handling it.”

The news came not from any of those agencies but in an aside in a press release from Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Henry Henderson of NRDC points out at Huffington Post.

News of the discovery of a breeding population in an offshoot of the Mississippi River within hailing distance of the Great Lakes come one week after an Asian carp was caught in Lake Calumet, beyond electrical barriers that were supposed to prevent a carp invasion.

Environmentalists said the discovery adds urgency to the call by Senator Richard Durbin for a “carp czar” to coordinate the response to the threat.

“We now see direct threats to two of the Great Lakes,” said Henderson. “We cannot afford foot-dragging and confusion about the problem or the solutions. It is time for focused, determined action, which requires direct and firm engagement from the White House.”

The environmental groups expressed a growing frustration with the federal response, saying it has “fallen far short of expectations” and involved “numerous costly missteps.”

These include delay by the Army Corps in starting a study of ecological separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River water basins.  Congress authorized the study in 2007, but the Corps has yet to even release an initial study plan, and 2012 date for completing a study of the Chicago waterway system has been pushed back a year, according to a letter from the groups to President Obama released last week.

New legislation from Durbin and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan would mandate an Army Corps study focused on ecological separation to be completed within 18 months.

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Category: environment, Lake Michigan

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