Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, September 4, 2019
Key representatives from Ohio’s environmental, natural resources, and angling community joined Rep. Dave Joyce (OH-14) on Sept. 4 to discuss the threats posed by invasive carp on Lake Erie’s ecological health and economy.
If invasive carp invade the Great Lakes region, they could devastate Ohio’s fishing industry and permanently alter how recreational boaters, anglers, wildlife watchers and tourists use and enjoy Lake Erie and its many tributaries. The fish 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.
“As a life-long resident of Northeast Ohio, swimming and fishing in Lake Erie as a kid are still some of my favorite memories,” said Rep. Dave Joyce. “But there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that both current and future generations have the opportunity to make similar memories, especially when it comes to invasive species like invasive carp. The reality is that any threat to Lake Erie is also a threat to the drinking water supply for 11 million people, our tourism industry, and all the plants and animals that are a part of the lake’s ecosystem. I thank the Ohio Environmental Council for inviting me to be a part of today’s important discussion alongside experts and stakeholders from across Northeast Ohio. The input they provided will help me continue to lead the fight in Washington to protect and preserve Lake Erie and the national treasure that is the Great Lakes System.”
“We appreciate the input from all who attended today’s roundtable with Rep. Joyce,” said Pete Bucher, Water Resources Director for the Ohio Environmental Council. “We know from experience the devastating impacts of invasive species on the Great Lakes region. Forward-thinking, science-based, collaborative solutions like the Brandon Road Lock and Dam plan need to be immediately implemented to protect the ecological health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and our regional economy. While this action is pursued we must also pursue a permanent long-term solution to separate the Great Lakes watershed ensuring invasive species do enter or exit the region.”
“The Alliance for the Great Lakes appreciates Congressman Joyce’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 Perry Township. The round table included representatives from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Lake Metroparks, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Lake Erie Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Geological Survey.