protection bill passes Senate panel
Port Clinton News Herald
Published June 26th, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Legislation authored by U.S. Sen. George Voinovich
R-Ohio, to help complete a preventative barrier in the Illinois
River to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes,
passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
The foreign species is a threat to the native fish population,
ecosystem and boating community.
The legislation was included as an amendment to the Water
Resources and Development Act which will now go the full
Senate for consideration.
Voinovich is a member of the EPW Committee and is a member
of its subcommittee which has jurisdiction over this issue.
Ohio Senator Mike DeWine R-Ohio, co-sponsored the amendment,
and also co-authored a letter with Voinovich to the administration
supporting the project.
"This legislation will not only provide the funds
to help complete this critical preventive barrier, but
it will also send a clear message to the Great Lakes states
that the federal government is committed to helping restore
the Lakes," said Voinovich. "Without the barrier,
there is a mere 50 miles separating Asian Carp from reaching
the Great Lakes. These fish are a serious threat to the
entire Great Lakes community, and this barrier will help
guard against them."
Specifically, the legislation would help fund the completion
of an electric barrier located in the Illinois River near
Chicago which is preventing the carp from entering Lake
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project
will cost a total of $6.8 million. However, state law
prevents the state of Illinois from spending more than
$5 million on this project. This legislation would reimburse
the state of Illinois for the $1.8 million needed for
The three species of Asian carp -- black, bighead and
silver -- threaten native fish by quickly consuming large
quantities of phytoplankton, which is critical to the
stability of the ecosystem. According to reports, the
carp made their way north to the Illinois River after
escaping from fish farms during massive flooding along
the Mississippi River more than 10 years ago.
Asian carp can grow to an average of four feet and 60
pounds, and can consume up to 40 percent of their body
weight in plankton per day.