Editorial: Carp bill: Michigan lawmakers are pushing a new attack on invasive fish
Lansing State Journal
Published January 26, 2007
Unlike the zebra mussel or lamprey, the Asian carp hasn't broken into the Great Lakes to harm native species or disrupt the ecosystem. The carp's still on the outside looking in ... we think.
There are barriers along the waterways feared most as the entry for the carp to the lakes. But they are temporary and decaying. And the federal government's been all too slow in improving them.
Now, there is some greater hope of stouter defenses. Led by members from Michigan, Congress may soon actually spend the money to erect permanent barriers on Illinois waterways to keep the carp out.
And, rest assured, we don't want the carp anywhere near Saugatuck, Pentwater, Traverse City or Port Huron.
The Asian carp is, frankly, a monster. It eats voraciously, grows prodigiously and has a dangerous defense mechanism - jumping out of the water. The carp can go so high and so far, they've even injured boaters in the Mississippi River basin, where the carp have been steadily advancing north for years.
This month, a new bill was filed in Congress - H.R. 553 - that focuses specifically on the carp threat, directing the Army Corps of Engineers to get permanent barriers in place, and study ways to prevent the carp's spread.
The idea isn't new on Capitol Hill. Funds for lake defenses - backed by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, among others - were part of a larger budget measure last fall. But the bigger bill got hung up in the congressional meat-grinder
A spokeswoman for Congressman Mike Rogers' office said this week, though, that the stand-alone bill should fare better, even to the point of finally getting funds appropriated.
Rogers is joined as a co-sponsor on the measure by a bipartisan bevy of Michigan members, including our region's Reps. Dave Camp and Vern Ehlers.
In the world of ecosystem protection, there are few certainties. Even permanent barriers in Illinois are no guarantee the carp won't break into the lakes. One thing is certain though: The longer we delay, the more it favors the carp.