Island man says steps to prevent Asian carp from the Great Lakes may be too late

UNITED STATES—A  local resident who is a member of Algonquin Eco-Watch feels that regardless of what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is recommending in terms of measures to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, that it is probably too late-that they are probably already here- and the measures taken will only slow their advancement.

“I don’t know what to say. But as I understand it Asian Carp DNA has been identified in Michigan and a couple of other areas within the Great Lakes. I think the door has been left open for too long, and that it is too late  they (Carp) are already here,” stated Mike Wilton, on Monday.  “Now they are telling people they are trying to stop Asian Carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Maybe they can slow down their encroachment on the Great Lakes, but if they are here already it is only a matter of time before the Carp become a self-sustaining population.”

“And now, the USAC is basically putting forward a solution that didn’t work when they originally started looking at keeping the Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes,” said Mr. Wilton. He said what should have been done is to have a structure built at the ship canal out through Chicago, to separate the Mississippi River from Chicago, allow ships through and hold the Asian Carp at abeyance. “This could have been  accomplished, and it wouldn’t have been cost prohibitive.”

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Canadian Press reported this past Monday that the USACE is recommending a mixture of technologies including loud noises and water jets at a crucial site in Illinois to prevent Asian Carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

The corps released a draft report Monday analyzing options for upgrading the Brandon road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The complex is on the Des Plaines River a few miles downstream from electric  barriers intended to prevent fish in the Mississippi river watershed from reaching Lake Michigan through Chicago-area waterways.

It is explained in the Canadian Press article that Brandon Road is considered a bottleneck where new structures or technologies could strengthen defences against Asian Carp. Scientists say if the carp reach the Great Lakes, they could devastate a $7 billion fishing industry by crowding out native species.

The report also suggests installing another electric barrier.

The U.S.A.C.E.  released the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Inter basin Study –Brandon road Draft Integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement for public review and comment.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate potential control options and technologies at the Des Plaines river Brandon road Lock and Dam to prevent the upstream inter basin transfer for aquatic nuisance species while minimizing impacts to waterway uses and users and to identify a tentatively selected plan.

USACE is planning public meetings to discuss the contents of the report and allow for public comment until September 21. 

“I really think it is too late now,” added Mr. Wilton. “They are hoping the measures they take are going to work, and they will spend horrendous amounts of money on something that may not work at all, and may be too late already.”