Feds push to pay for carp barrier
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Published January 26, 2007
Federal legislators have finally climbed on the bandwagon to fund a barrier to prevent Asian carp from swimming upstream into the Great Lakes.
The invasive bighead and silver carp escaped from flooded fish farms in southern states in the early 1990s and now dominate stretches of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The carp have migrated to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which leads to Lake Michigan. The only barrier keeping the fast-growing carp from entering the Great Lakes is an electric fence built in the Chicago Canal in 2002, now deemed inadequate to stop the migrating carp.
Fisheries experts say Asian carp could devastate Great Lakes fishing, but state and federal officials had been reluctant to fund an improved electronic barrier. Last week, Illinois legislators Rep. Judy Biggert and Sen. Richard Durbin introduced the Great Lakes Asian Carp Barrier Act to provide $9 million to construct and maintain the new barrier.
The barrier has been promoted by fishing, wildlife and environmental groups.