Wednesday, December 9, 2009

MI To Sue To Close Canal; No Asian Carp Found

Dec 8: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced that his office will file suit in Federal court to force the closure of Chicago-area locks that separate the Great Lakes from Illinois waters shown to contain Asian carp. In a release Cox indicated that the fish are an aggressive invasive species that could quickly destroy Great Lakes fish populations, causing severe damage to Michigan's economy by ruining our $7 billion fishing and tourism industries.

Cox said, "Asian carp must be stopped now because we will not have a second chance once they enter Lake Michigan. The combination of finding carp and carp DNA so close to Lake Michigan is something that should cause great concern for us all.The Great Lakes are our greatest natural resource and we have a duty handed down to us from past generations to preserve them for future generations. They are also essential to our economy, our national image, and our way of life. We will do whatever is necessary to protect them," Cox continued.

The Attorney General indicated that his office spent recent weeks reviewing legal options to force authorities responsible for the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal to take more aggressive action to stop the carp from entering Lake Michigan at Chicago. The suit, which will be filed soon, will seek to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Illinois, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to close the locks and present a comprehensive, long-term solution to the crisis.

Cox said, "While this week's actions based on DNA evidence may be a step forward toward protecting the Great Lakes, they fail to provide a long-term solution to this crisis. Instead of having to sound the emergency alarms again one month or six months from now, authorities responsible for this situation must seize this opportunity to once and for all solve the problem." Last week the Attorney General sent a letter to these authorities demanding a full explanation of their plans to protect the Great Lakes from this looming threat. He said to date, none have responded.

Meanwhile, on December 8, U.S. EPA, the Army Corps, Illinois EPA and the Coast Guard issued a joint release indicating that no Asian Carp were found above electrical barrier designed to halt the migration before entering Lake Michigan. The release indicates, "The Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup has completed fishing operations near the T.J. O’Brien Lock in an attempt to locate Asian carp after eDNA sampling in the area tested positive for the invasive species. The Workgroup used commercial fishermen and federal fisheries personnel to deploy nearly 3,000 yards of fishing nets along a 5.5-mile stretch of the Cal-Sag Channel. While the nets were successful in collecting more than 800 fish, no Asian carp were found. The catch included more than 700 common carp and 10 other species."

Access a release from the AG (
click here). Access a release from the workgroup (click here). Access the Asian Carp Management website for extensive information (click here).