Lakes panel wants monster fish to stay away John C. Kuehner
Plain Dealer Reporter
eight states and Canada want to stop the Asian carp before
it gets any closer to the Great Lakes.
They urged the
federal government yesterday to beef up fish barriers
in the Chicago shipping channel before it's too late.
A temporary electric
barrier erected in April is all that stands between Lake
Michigan and the Asian carp, several monster-size fish
species from China and Siberia that have voracious appetites
and, experts say, could devastate the Great Lakes.
Great Lakes Commission
members adopted a resolution that asks the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build
a second barrier and upgrade the existing one, including
adding a backup power source in case of a blackout.
"This is something
that we know is coming and there's still time to do something
about it," said Sam Speck, the director of the Ohio Department
of Natural Resources and commission delegate. "It should
be easy to say, 'Let's get this done now.' "
is one of five Great Lakes issues that the 32 commissioners
adopted at their annual meeting yesterday, which was held
who represent eight Great Lakes states and two provinces
of Canada, did not get a chance to consider a proposal
to designate Lake St. Clair as the sixth Great Lake. Backers
withheld it for fear of defeat.
dealt with beach closings and water quality concerns and
support for reauthorizing the federal National Invasive
the carp is a top priority. Donald R. Vonnahme, Illinois
director of Water Resources, said he is working to reallocate
$7 million in state funds to build the barrier. He said
he expects the federal government to credit the state.
The Asian carp
escaped from fish farms into the Mississippi River during
floods in the 1980s. They have since moved up the river.
The latest estimates are that they're 50 miles from Lake
Michigan and 25 miles from the barrier, Vonnahme said.
The barrier would
be a railroad-type rail on the bottom of the channel charged
with a nonlethal dose of electricity that jolts fish into
turning around, said Jan Miller, an environmental engineer
with the corps.
"No one has estimated
that one barrier is 100 percent effective," Miller said.
"You need a backup barrier."