Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No Asian Carp Found After Intensive Monitoring Around Lake Calumet

Aug 9: The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) detailed the results of intensive monitoring efforts in and around Lake Calumet within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) and announced no Asian carp were seen or captured during a four-day response. The ACRCC began a Level 1 monitoring response under its Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan on August 1, after three consecutive rounds of Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling yielded positive results for Asian carp DNA in and around Lake Calumet [See WIMS 8/1/11]. 
    At present, eDNA evidence cannot verify whether live Asian carp are present, whether the DNA may have come from a dead fish, or whether water containing Asian carp DNA may have been transported from other sources, such as bilge water. While the Lake Calumet area is regularly monitored for the presence of Asian carp, a level 1 response intensified efforts over a four-day period of time with commercial fishing crews, electrofishing boats, larger sweeping nets called seines, and additional sampling gear such as tandem trap nets and hydro acoustic surveys to determine whether live Asian carp were present in the area.

    John Goss, Asian Carp Director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) said, "Our rapid response plan did what it was designed to do -- use aggressive monitoring and the best available technology to confirm there is no establishing population of Asian carp above the electric barrier. We will continue to follow our comprehensive Asian carp control strategy to aggressively monitor the Chicago Area Waterway System, ensure the security of the electric barrier, and use and develop the most advanced technologies to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp." 

    The Lake Calumet response action concluded on August 4, 2011 after more than 1,066 person-hours on the water using a crew of 38 state and Federal agency biologists and commercial fishermen aboard 11 vessels.  A variety of nets and methods were used during the operation, including gill/trammel netting, electrofishing, tandem-trap netting, and hydro acoustic surveys.  In total, crews fished more than 11 miles of gill/trammel nets, eight fyke nets, and completed 22.5 hours of electrofishing.  In all, 8,668 fish were collected, including large numbers of buffalo and gizzard shad , indicating that fish that share Asian carp habitat preferences were being trapped and identified.

    Access a lengthy release from ACRCC with additional details and links to more information (click here).

New Blog To Engage & Monitor GLWQA Renegotiations

Aug 9: Agreement Watch is a new blog hosted by Great Lakes United (GLU) to help citizens engage in the renegotiation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). GLU will provide periodic updates on the site as new information becomes available and post short articles and opinion pieces on various issues related to the Agreement. Concise and constructive comments are welcome.
    GLU reports that negotiating teams for the United States and Canada are actively engaged in drafting the first major changes to the Agreement since 1987. The window for official public input is expected to close by September 20, 2011. On August 4, the U.S. and Canadian governments announced the following as the final opportunities for public input into the GLWQA renegotiations:
  • Late August: the governments will post a consultation presentation on
  • A binational public forum will be held in Toronto on the afternoon of September 8.
  • A binational public forum will be held in Chicago on the morning of September 13.
  • A basin-wide webinar will be held on the afternoon of September 13.
  • Written comment period for the public ends September 20.

    GLU indicates that one of the major requests from many groups over the past couple of years is that the public be given the opportunity to see the specific language of a draft revised GLWQA before the final round of public meetings. The governments have refused to do so. In a letter sent to Great Lakes United on July 29, 2011, the U.S. State Department and Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade responded: "While the restraints of international negotiations prevent us from sharing a draft of the agreement for public comment, we will be providing descriptive written materials to be shared ahead of the public forums." GLU notes there is no indication yet as to how specific the "descriptive written materials" will be.

    Access the Agreement Watch blog for extensive information and (click here). Access the website for additional information from the governments (click here). Access the GLU website for more information (click here).