There may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel in the battle against the Asian carp, and hopefully it won’t be coming from the silvery scales of the invasive species itself.
After considerable delay, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today has finally released the Brandon Road Lock & Dam Study. The study provides critical new information on the options for implementing additional Asian carp control measures to slow the movement of the invasive fish. Environmental and conservation groups released the following statement in response:
“The recent finding of an adult Asian carp nine miles from Lake Michigan underscores the urgent nature of this threat to Lake Michigan and all of the Great Lakes. The study, which was completed months ago, should have been released in February yet the Administration sat on it in reaction to pressure from industry groups and officials from the states of Illinois and Indiana. This delay wasted valuable time, putting the Great Lakes at unnecessary risk.
We look forward to reviewing the findings in detail and to continuing the conversation on this critical issue with elected officials and concerned citizens during the public comment period. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must listen carefully to public input on the study and then move quickly from study to implementation of additional protection measures at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, a logical choke point in the system.
While possible control measures at Brandon Road Lock and Dam represent another step in the fight against the upstream movement of Asian carp, we cannot lose focus on the need for a two-way solution that also addresses invasive species moving from the Great Lakes into the Mississippi River basin.
“Thank you to the many Congressional Great Lakes champions who have advocated for the release of this study. Continued effort by elected officials will be needed to ensure the process is not delayed further and funding is appropriated for future construction needs.”
Multiple groups collaborated on today’s statement, including the following:
- Alliance for the Great Lakes
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Prairie Rivers Network
- Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter
Meanwhile, State Senator John Proos of St. Joseph is encouraging everyday residents to join the fight against the Asian carp by entering the state’s Invasive Carp Challenge, by providing innovative proposals for preventing the invasive fish from entering the Great Lakes.
Proos says, “An Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes would be nothing short of catastrophic, and it would forever change the way of life along Lake Michigan.” He adds, “The challenge is about attracting new ideas to help inspire, create and enact an effective solution that will protect the Great Lakes from an economic and environmental disaster.”
Governor Rick Snyder recently announced the challenge, which is designed to help develop new, innovative solutions to the threat of the Asian carp. The challenge will accept solutions in any phase of development, from concept to design to field-tested models, specifically aimed at preventing invasive carp movement into the Great Lakes.
Proos says that the Invasive Carp Challenge comes only a few weeks after an 8-pount silver carp was discovered just nine miles from Lake Michigan – beyond the electric barrier that is supposed to keep them out. He adds, “For years, we have been calling for better federal action to stop Asian carp from decimating the Great Lakes and its vibrant fishing, tourism and boating industries – to no avail. This challenge offers everyone a chance to help us win the battle against Asian carp.”
Written proposals will be accepted online through October 31st. One or more solutions will share up to $700,000 in cash awards provided by the state of Michigan. Once registered, solvers can see a detailed description of the challenge, review existing deterrent technologies for invasive carp and submit their proposed solutions.
Here’s the link to register or learn more: www.Michigan.gov/CarpChallenge.