Invasive Asian Carp on the brink of invading Great Lakes
Following is a statement from Henry Henderson, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest Program (and a former Commissioner of the Environment for the City of Chicago):
"Today's announcement that Asian carp have gotten past the electric fish fence is sobering, but predictable. The responsible federal and state agencies have known about this problem for 13 years, but have utterly failed to act with the urgency that this threat requires. The prospect of 100 pound fish off of Oak Street Beach and leaping out at boaters in the Great Lakes should spur action that should have been undertaken years ago. We have seen how zebra and quagga mussels have literally transformed Lake Michigan, and I fear that the Asian carp could do far worse to the ecosystem.
"The Army Corps of Engineers needs to stop reacting to events, and get ahead of this problem with real solutions. Physical barriers in the waterways need to be put in place quickly, along with a clear plan to move aggressively toward closing off the Chicago Diversion and returning the ecological barriers that used to protect the Great Lakes from these threats. The only thing aggressive about the virtual fish fence has been its multi-million dollar price tag.
"The 19th Century thinking that gave us the Chicago Diversion no longer holds true or meets our needs. We can close those waterways to prevent the arrival of more carp and still protect commerce, but that involves far bigger thinking than we have had so far."