Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Parties Call For Urgent Action As Asian Carp Advance

Jan 19: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm called for the White House to immediately establish a summit with the Great Lakes Governors to discuss the growing Asian Carp threat. The letter, jointly signed with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, was in response to the Supreme Court decision to deny a preliminary injunction sought by Michigan and other Great Lakes states calling for the emergency closure of the locks in the Chicago Shipping Canal to stop the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes [See WIMS 1/19/10]. Governor Granholm said, "Asian Carp threaten the well-being of our Great Lakes, and ultimately, the well-being of Michigan. It is disappointing that the Supreme Court declined to aid in our fight against these aquatic invaders, so we now ask the White House to work with us in finding a solution before it is too late."

Carp DNA samples have recently been found above the electrical barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, providing new evidence that the Asian Carp are continuing to move closer to Lake Michigan. In fact, as the Governor was issuing her release, the multi-agency Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) announced that it had received new information from the University of Notre Dame about one positive environmental DNA result for silver carp in Calumet Harbor approximately one-half mile north of the Calumet River and one more at a location in the Calumet River north of O’Brien Lock. These samples were collected on December 8 and recently processed. Two previous tests of multiple water samples from this area were negative.

Dr. David Lodge, director of the eDNA project at the University of Notre Dame said, "Our current eDNA process provides indications of likely presence, but it does not yet provide information about Asian carp quantity that may be present, age, size, how they got there or how long they may have been there." Major General John Peabody, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division said, "Clearly this is not good news. But eDNA technology provides the advanced warning of the possible presence of Asian carp, so that all agencies supporting the RCC can focus their efforts and resources to optimal effect. The Corps of Engineers will continue to collaborate with our partners to urgently execute already planned actions, and further develop other multi-agency measures that will defeat this threat to the Great Lakes."

Charlie Wooley, Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said, “From what we have seen in other parts of the country, Asian carp could out-compete our native, sport and commercial fish in southern Lake Michigan. We call them an aquatic vacuum cleaner because they filter important food resources out of the water and turn it into carp biomass.”

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, and gubernatorial candidate issued a statement on the Supreme Court ruling saying, "I am extremely disappointed the Supreme Court did not push the pause button on this crisis until an effective plan is in place. While the injunction would have been an extraordinary step by the court, Michigan and the other Great Lakes states are facing an extraordinary crisis that could forever alter the Lakes, permanently killing thousands of jobs at a time when families can least afford it." Cox noted that the court did not address Michigan's request to reopen the "Chicago Diversion" case and therefore that portion of the case continues. Michigan, which is supported by Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, seeks a solution to the crisis that will protect the ecology and economy of the Great Lakes. Briefs in that portion of the case are due by February 19.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes has prepared a report on closing the waterway connections and says, "A permanent breakup of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins is the only guaranteed way to keep invasive species from traveling between the two and causing devastating irreversible damage." The Alliance explains that the Chicago Waterway System, engineered in 1900 to
reverse the flow of the Chicago River, is a complex system of rivers and canals diverting Chicago’s wastewater from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River. The Alliance report, Preliminary Feasibility of Ecological Separation of the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, outlines six options for separating the watersheds and ending the transfer of species between them.

Access a release from Gov. Granholm (
click here). Access a release from the Asian Carp RCC (click here). Access a release from the Michigan AG (click here). Access a fact sheet and map from the Alliance and link to their complete report (click here). Access the Army Corps of Engineers' website for more information (click here). Access the Asian Carp Management website for extensive information (click here). Access the Great Lakes United website to track the Asian Carp emergency situation (click here).

RFP: Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Projects

Jan 19: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Program is soliciting applications for Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Projects under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, under the Funding Opportunity Number: NOAA-NMFS-HCPO-2010-2002236. NOAA seeks to support projects that will result in on-the-ground restoration of Great Lakes coastal habitat within the Great Lakes basin and a number of priority consideration for project proposals are listed. NOAA anticipates up to $10 million may be available for Great Lakes coastal habitat restoration and typical awards are expected to range between $1 and $1.5 million. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 16, 2010.

Access the announcement, list of priorities, contacts and links to the full announcement (
click here)