Each year, Asian carp swim closer and closer to the Great Lakes. The carp are invasive and wreak havoc on native ecosystems. If they reach Lake Erie, there will be dire consequences for native species and the tourism and recreation industries.
While some efforts have been made to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, much more work needs to be done. The U.S. Senate is marking-up the Energy and Water appropriations bill, which provides funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) for a number of projects, including Asian carp prevention.
Part of this bill includes funds and legislative language to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, the bill contains some problematic language:
“Given the promise Brandon Road Lock and Dam holds as a single point to control transfer of invasive species, including Asian carp, delays to this study would pose an unnecessary threat to the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin.”
While on its surface this may appear harmless, the sentence above actually represents a major error in the Corps’ plan to prevent the spread of Asian carp. Changes made at Brandon Rock Lock and Dam are intermediate steps to fully preventing Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan. The only fail-proof measure to protect our Great Lakes from Asian carp is to permanently separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. Changes made at Brandon Road Lock and Dam will not prevent aquatic invasive species from the Great Lakes entering into the Mississippi and Ohio River watersheds.
Please call Senators Sherrod Brown (202-224-2315) and Rob Portman (202-224-3353) and let them know modifications to Brandon Road Lock and Dam is an intermediate step, but the only real solution is permanently separating the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds.