MJ Eckhouse, November 4, 2019
TOLEDO, OH — Key representatives from Ohio’s environmental, natural resources and angling community joined Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) today to discuss the threats posed by invasive carp on Lake Erie’s ecological health and economy.
“If left unchecked, invasive carp threaten to devastate Northern Ohio’s fishing industry and permanently change how our boaters, anglers and tourists enjoy our beloved Lake Erie,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Thank you so much to the environmental and Great Lakes experts and advocates for participating in today’s important roundtable to discuss the threats posed to Lake Erie’s ecological health and economy, in addition to prevention measures at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. Together, we will prevent invasive Carp from destroying our Great Lakes.”
Invasive carp are known to be voracious feeders, out-competing native fish for food and habitat. This is particularly concerning because Lake Erie is the walleye capital of the world and supports one of the biggest freshwater commercial fisheries in the world. Each year, more than $300 million is spent in the Ohio Lake Erie basin on fishing.
“We know from experience the devastating impacts of invasive species on the Great Lakes region,” said Pete Bucher, Water Resources Director for the Ohio Environmental Council. “We appreciated Rep. Kaptur’s leadership in calling for forward-thinking, science-based, collaborative solutions, like the Brandon Road Project, to protect the ecological health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and our regional economy.”
“The Alliance for the Great Lakes appreciates Rep. Kaptur’s leadership on protecting our Great Lakes from invasive carp,” said Crystal Davis, Policy Director for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “We encourage the Great Lakes Congressional delegation to continue to show leadership on this issue by prioritizing the authorization of the Brandon Road project in the Water Resources Development Act.”
After years of study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a plan to construct the Brandon Road Lock and Dam this spring. The plan involves the construction of a deliberately redundant system in Wills County, Illinois, with technology alternatives that include an engineered channel with an acoustic fish deterrent, air bubble curtain and electric barrier to prevent invasive carp from moving from the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes basin through the Chicago Area Waterway System.
A conversation about the threats posed by and plans to prevent invasive carp from entering Lake Erie took place on the shores of Ohio’s north coast in Toledo at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. The round table included representatives from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, National Wildlife Federation, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Sea Grant College Program, The Ohio State University, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey and University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences.