Archived Story

Upton, Donnelly join battle vs. Asian carp in Great Lakes

Published 9:56am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., have joined 50 of their colleagues in both the House and the Senate in signing onto a letter requesting swift action be taken to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

The letter was sent Monday to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen and Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sam D. Hamilton.

“Preserving our Great Lakes has always been a priority of mine,” Donnelly said. “Asian carp are a threat and could wreak havoc on Lake Michigan if they are not contained.
“Fred and I will continue to advocate for all common-sense measures aimed at protecting the lakes, the species indigenous to them and the livelihoods of those employed in the ($7 billion) fishing industry.”

“Joe and I are united in our efforts to preserve our treasured Great Lakes in this epic battle to keep the Asian carp out of Lake Michigan and the entire Great Lakes watershed,” said Upton.

“The $13.5 million in emergency funding is an important first step, but we are still in desperate need of long-term solutions to keep the carp out of our beloved Great Lakes. Failure is not an option.”

The letter is being sent on the heels of an announcement this past Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency that it has pledged $13.5 million in funding to prevent Asian carp from migrating farther toward the Great Lakes.

The majority of the funding announced will be used to close conduits and shore up low-lying lands between the Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal and adjacent waterways.

It will also be used to perform more genetic testing to identify where the Asian carp are residing.

The letter Donnelly and Upton signed onto asks the agencies to consider:

• Implementing the recommendations of the Asian Carp Rapid Response Project. This project is a federal/non-federal partnership of leading experts.

• Closing the O’Brien and Chicago Locks if there is reasonable certainty that Asian carp are above the barrier.

• Continuing the use of piscicides as a rapid response measure.

• Creating a possible permanent hydrological separation between the Great Lakes and the canal.

• Increasing the voltage of the electric dispersal barrier to prevent Asian carp of any size from crossing the barrier.

• Drafting and approving the planned interim reports as part of the Efficacy Study, which was authorized under section 3061 of WRDA 2007, in order for the Corps of Engineers to take action to prevent Asian carp from bypassing the existing electric dispersal barrier project in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

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