Monday, November 23, 2009

GLU Website To Track Asian Carp Control Efforts

Nov 23: Following last Friday's U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announcement that DNA testing indicated the presence of Asian carp 6 miles south of Lake Michigan, 20 miles past the preventative electric barrier [See WIMS 11/20/09], Great Lakes United (GLU) launched a special website to track this emergency situation. Detailed Google maps indicate the suspected progress and key land and water control features. Also included are FAQs and links to additional resources.

Additionally, GLU and other groups are demanding that the Corps of Engineers and the State of Illinois close the three locks that stand in the way of the carp's progression: the O'Brien, Chicago River, and Wilmette. GLU joined other groups including National Wildlife Federation, Healing Our Waters and Alliance for the Great Lakes. Jennifer Nalbone, campaign director of Invasive Species and Navigation for GLU said, "If we don't close the locks, we are waving the white flag and allowing one of the greatest ecological tragedies to occur. If the Asian carp make it to Lake Michigan, the damage to fisheries in the Lakes and tributaries will be profound and irreversible."

The website indicates, "If the fish were to reach the Great Lakes, it would be an ecological disaster. The carp consume enormous amount of food that other fish rely on, muscling out native species. The fish can grow to up to 3 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds, quickly dominating a waterbody due to their size. The fish also pose a risk to people: the silver carp are easily startled and often jump out of the water when startled, making them a hazard to boaters, anglers and water-skiers. If the carp make their way into the Great Lakes, they could devastate the region's $4.5 billion fishing industry and permanently alter how recreational boaters, anglers and tourists use and enjoy the lakes and their many tributaries.

Access the GLU website (click here).

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Request For Proposals

Nov 23: U.S. EPA has announced the issuance of a Request For Proposals (RFP) [79 pages, Announcement No: EPA-R5-GL2010-1] which solicits proposals from eligible entities for grants and cooperative agreements to be awarded pursuant to a portion of the $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative included in Public Law 111-88, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 which is in furtherance of President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (the Initiative) announced in February 2009. Proposals must be received by EPA by noon Central standard time on January 29, 2010.

The President and EPA, in conjunction with 15 other Federal agencies, have made restoring the Great Lakes a national priority. The Initiative builds on the prior efforts of agency, business, public interest, and other leaders which resulted in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy (GLRC Strategy) and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan now being developed.

The RFP represents EPA’s major competitive grant funding opportunity under the Initiative and is one of several funding opportunities described in the Initiative’s Interagency Funding Guide. A portion of the funding will be through the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service. The RFP, in conjunction with other funding opportunities under the Initiative, will be used to competitively provide funding to address the most significant Great Lakes ecosystem problems and efforts in five major focus areas: Toxic Substances and Areas of Concern; Invasive Species; Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution; Habitat and Wildlife Protection and Restoration; and Accountability, Education, Monitoring, Evaluation, Communication and Partnerships.

Access links to the complete RFP, and information on webinars and email lists to stay informed of opportunities (
click here).