Thursday, July 1, 2010

Groups Warn Of Another Asian Carp Threat

Jul 1: A coalition of national and Great Lakes groups are warning of the discovery of spawning Asian carp in the Wabash River which they say shows the crisis is advancing on multiple fronts and demands aggressive and immediate action. The carp were found downstream of a floodplain that separates the Wabash from the Maumee River and Lake Erie, near the city of Fort Wayne, IN. The discovery and acknowledgment of the finding by the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee comes a week after the committee announced a live Asian carp was found just six miles from Lake Michigan in Chicago's Lake Calumet [See WIMS 6/24/10].
    The groups said the discovery of a spawning population of Asian carp in the Wabash River is of particular concern because of the possibility the Wabash could flood into the Maumee River in Indiana. The Maumee River flows to Lake Erie and is identified by carp specialists as an ideal habitat for Asian carp. The groups and Congressional leaders are calling for Presidential intervention in the issue and asking him to appoint a Federal Coordinated Response Commander. Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes said, "We're being outmaneuvered by a fish and can't afford to play catch up. We need leadership to anticipate, align and activate on where the carp are going to be -- not where they've already been."
    The groups emphasized their support for the Permanent Prevention of Asian Carp Act, introduced on June 29 and 30 (S.3553, H.R.5625), in the House and Senate which would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct and expedite a study detailing engineering options in order to determine the best way to permanently separate the Mississippi River Basin from Lake Michigan. The organizations include: Alliance for the Great Lakes - Environment Illinois - Freshwater Future - Great Lakes United - Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition – Indiana Wildlife Federation - National Wildlife Federation - Natural Resources Defense Council – Ohio Environmental Council - Prairie Rivers Network - Sierra Club.

    The Great Lakes Commission also voiced strong support for the new legislation introduced. Todd Ambs, vice chair of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) said, "We face a crisis in the Great Lakes and we must act with urgency. It is imperative that we take the near-term actions needed to push back against the forward movement of Asian carp. We applaud Senators Stabenow and Durbin for their leadership in advancing a long-term solution that permanently protects the economic and ecological health of the Great Lakes." Tim Eder, GLC executive director said, "Now, more than ever, we need leadership from the federal government and an aggressive timetable for action that matches the urgency of this crisis. This legislation will help assure that long-term solutions move forward quickly."
    Access a release with further details (click here). Access a release from GLC (click here). Access legislative details for S.3553 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.5625 (click here).

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