Obama Administration Pledges $78.5 Million to Fight Asian Carp; Great Lakes Governors Want More Than Cash

A $78.5 million pledge from the Obama administration and a plan for part-time closure of Chicago-area locks isn’t enough to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp, Michigan’s governor declared Monday.

Jumping Asian Carp

Photo © Jason Lindsey

Following a Monday “carp summit” at the White House with Obama administration officials, Governor Jennifer Granholm said in a statement that she was “very disappointed” with the administration’s plans.

“While we did have some areas of agreement with the White House, we believe that the plan does not adequately address the concerns we have been voicing about the imminent threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes,” Granholm said. “I believe the proposal’s primary objectives are not sustainable, and that this is a plan to limit damages — not solve the problem.”

Michigan officials and several representatives from other states in the region have called for immediate closure of the Chicago locks. They hope to prevent the invasive fish species from decimating the Great Lakes’ $7 billion sportfishing industry. 

But the Obama administration and the state of Illinois have opposed the move. Under the administration’s proposal, the locks may be closed more often, while the water around them would be treated with poison to kill nearby Asian carp before they enter Lake Michigan.

The administration’s proposal, known as the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework, would also involve increased DNA sampling of the waters, a third electric barrier in Chicago-area waterways to drive the invasive species away from the lake, and land barriers to keep carp from getting past the electric blockades during floods. 

The plan includes funding for chemical treatments if the barriers fail, and for further research on controlling the carp.

Sources: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Detroit News, Washington Post

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