Corps of Engineers is going fishing
The issue: Plan to keep invasive fish at bay
Northwest Indiana Times
Our opinion: Indigenous species need to be protected from
these ravenous competitors.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that master of making
rivers and lakes bend to its will, is itself going with
the flow this time.
Fortunately, it is acquiescing to pressure from Great
Lakes lawmakers to protect funding for a new electric
fence designed to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.
The $4.4 million previously promised for a new fish barrier
would have been redirected to projects in Iraq or Afghanistan
under the Corps budget proposed in February.
Currently, a temporary electric fence stretches across
the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent the voracious
carp from migrating toward the Great Lakes and threatening
the ecosystem and the $4 billion-per-year fishing industry.
The cables charge the water with electricity to repel
fish while keeping the waterway open to shipping.
Asian carp can grow up to 90 pounds. The largest one
found in Indiana waters so far was more than 50 pounds.
They were raised in fish farms along the Mississippi River
but escaped during heavy flooding over the last two decades
and are headed this way.
They can starve out native fish like bass and walleye,
feeding on the same plankton those native fish require.
Illinois is pledging $2 million as its share of the $6
million permanent barrier. It will be money well spent.
The barrier, designed to last about 20 years, is expected
to be completed in the fall.
Asian carp needs to be stopped. Nothing against the Iraq
and Afghanistan projects, but protecting the Great Lakes
fishing industry is important, too.
Your opinion, please
How effective will the Corps of Engineers electric fence
be in keeping Asian carp from spreading to the Great Lakes?