Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MI Senator Proos Urges Action On Asian Carp

Jul 23:  Michigan State Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph) indicated in a release that a new Canadian report warns of the real threat of an Asian carp invasion that could put the health of the Great Lakes at stake and damage the boating, fishing and tourism economies of both the United State and Canada. He said, "This is the latest report that reaches the same dire conclusion: the environmental and economic impact of Asian carp if they were to invade Lake Michigan would be catastrophic. Billions of dollars in economic activity would be lost, thousands of Michigan jobs would be wiped out and our way of life in the Great Lakes region would be forever changed."

    He said, he and his colleagues are currently pushing Senate Resolution 36 urging Congress to end water diversion from the Great Lakes through Chicago to avoid contamination. Closing the Chicago locks would prevent the migration into Lake Michigan of silver and bighead carp, commonly known as Asian carp. According to the report, since Asian carp breed quickly, have no natural predators and can consume as much as 20 percent of their body weight in a day, they can monopolize food sources and push out native species. The Canadian government predicts that if Asian carp get into Lake Michigan, they would spread to Lake Huron within five years.

    Sen. Proos said, "An Asian carp infestation would wreak havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and all its rivers, devastate a $7 billion fishing industry and jeopardize the livelihoods of many Michigan families. This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose, so I again urge the president to immediately close the Chicago locks to prevent an ecological and economic disaster. As families and tourists get out and enjoy Michigan waters, I encourage them to join the fight against Asian carp by learning more about the fish and reporting any suspected sightings."

    The report that Senator Proos refers to was released on July 11, by the Canadian nonprofit organization Environmental Defence. The report -- Tipping the Scales: How Canada and Ontario Can Prevent an Asian Carp Invasion of the Great Lakes -- outlines recommendations on what can be done to prevent Asian carp from establishing in the lakes. Nancy Goucher, water programs manager at Environmental Defence said, "Once Asian carp take hold of a lake or river, they wreak havoc on the ecosystem, steal food from other fish species, and are nearly impossible to get rid of. We need to act now to prevent an invasion because the cost of doing nothing is too high." She said, "The good news is that there is still time to prevent these dreaded invaders from establishing in the Great Lakes. This is an issue that affects both sides of the border, and everyone -- government and individuals -- can play a role in protecting the health of the lakes for generations to come."

    Access a release from Sen. Proos (click here). Access a release from Environmental Defence and link to the complete 24 page report (click here). Access the MDNR Asian Carp website for additional information (click here). Access the Asian Carp Management website for additional information (click here). Access the U.S. Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee website for more information (click here). [#MIGLakes, #MIWildlife]

2013 Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework

Jul 24: The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) release its updated version of the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework [See WIMS 2/24/12]. According to a release, the Administration has invested more than $200 million dollars to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp and created the ACRCC in 2009 in an unprecedented and effective effort to coordinate Federal, State and local efforts to combat the invasive species. John Goss, Asian Carp Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality said, "This strategy continues our aggressive effort to bolster our tools to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes while we work toward a long term solution. The 2013 Framework will strengthen our defenses against Asian carp and move innovative carp control projects from research to field trials to implementation." The ACRCC has specified the following actions within the 2013 Framework:
  • Provide a sound strategy for addressing the threat of an Asian carp invasion into the Great Lakes such that the Framework continues to provide direction to participating agencies and to provide modes of actions to reduce threats and identify areas of possible future
  • mitigation of Asian carp population expansion.
  • Identify an array of alternatives through the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) to prevent spread of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
  • Identify efforts that supplement direct management action, such as education and outreach, or increased regulatory structure.
  • Develop an effective and fiscally sustainable Asian carp control program throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
  • Increase program sustainability through Framework action items such as robust control and removal efforts, and novel technology to detect and/or remove existing populations; and improve accuracy of known extent of Asian carp populations (including Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar [DIDSON], hydro-acoustic, and other remote sensing technologies). Other mitigating action items contribute to the program base and can be implemented if an emergency arisesincluding rotenone stockpiling, net development, and advanced fishing strategies. Further development of biological control agents will help to eradicate novel populations where they arise or to deplete existing stocks.
  • Identify ongoing or potential collaboration among ACRCC entities, and specify partner roles.
  • Document, track, and communicate actions of ACRCC partners in applying full authorities, capabilities, and resources to prevent introduction and establishment of Asian carp in the Great Lakes.
  • Further engage with governmental, industrial, environmental, and other stakeholders.
  • Initiate development of a strategy for transferring technology, decision support tools, and/or information to resource managers.
  • Apply technologies and lessons learned to areas below the electric dispersal barriers and to concurrent national Asian carp efforts, where applicable.
  • Build upon developed collaborative roles in the Great Lakes Basin to fully prepare for other basin-wide efforts as these arise.
    According to the report, "This Framework is a product of the best science available. Widespread agreement exists among scientists and stakeholders that prevention measures are critical to avoid the potential economic, environmental, and social costs associated with Asian carp establishment in the Great Lakes."
    Access a release from ACRCC (click here). Access the complete 200-page 2013 Framework document (click here). Access the ACRCC website for more information (click here). [#GLakes]