Friday, July 22, 2011

Asian Carp: 85 eDNA Samples Beyond Electrical Barriers; 7 New

Jul 21: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has posted new environmental DNA (eDNA) test results online for Asian carp in the Chicago Area Waterway System that include seven new positive detections for silver carp beyond all electrical barriers. The positive test results, bringing the total since 2009 to 85, were found on June 23, in Lake Calumet, less than six miles from Lake Michigan. Schuette said, "We often wonder after a tragedy if there had been any warning signs that we missed. We now have 85 warning signs that Asian carp are an impending tragedy for the Great Lakes. Yet the Federal government continues on its five-year study as invasive species continue to move freely in both directions. Losing the Great Lakes is not an option. We don't need any more studies. We need to act. And we need to act now." 
    In a release, Schuette indicated that despite the past efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others to downplay the significance of positive eDNA results, the tests have been validated through publication in a prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal. The eDNA method is the best and most sensitive means of detecting invading Asian carp because even the federal government's leading expert on the subject has admitted the fish are exceptionally difficult to capture with conventional techniques, such as netting and electrofishing.
            Schuette said that Michigan's Federal lawsuit, which calls for a permanent ecological barrier between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins in a much shorter period of time than the Corps current time frame, continues on with the support of the Attorneys General of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He also said he supports the passage of Federal legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, which would force similar action.
    Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D), who introduced a companion bill to Rep. Camp's bill, Stop Asian Carp Act in the Senate issued a statement saying, "This has got to serve as a wake-up call that this is an urgent situation for the Great Lakes. I strongly urge the Army Corps to close the locks now while they continue to determine the best way to permanently separate the Chicago Area Waterway System from the Great Lakes. If we do not see action, the Great Lakes will continue to remain vulnerable to irreversible disaster."
    Access a release from AG Schuette (click here). Access the ACOE eDNA surveillance results (click here). Access the ACRCC website for more information (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Stabenow (click here).