Efforts to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes continue, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal last month to order the immediate closure of two Chicago area locks connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River Basin.
The locks are located on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC), a manmade waterway that provides a direct connection between the Mississippi River system and Lake Michigan. The Obama administration opposes closure of the locks on the grounds that it would adversely affect shipping and commerce.
A summit to discuss strategies to combat the spread of Asian carp is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 8 at the Whitehouse. Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Coast Guard will meet with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to discuss the issue.
Then on Friday, Feb. 12, the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee will hold a public meeting to discuss and get recommendations on Asian carp control efforts. The committee will answer questions and listen to comments from the public during the meeting, which is available via live web stream. Questions for the committee can be submitted on the website. The meeting takes place from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Asian carp could have a devastating effect on the Great Lakes ecosystem. They are large, extremely prolific, consume vast amounts of food, and can weigh up to 100 pounds. They can spawn multiple times during each season and quickly out-compete native species by disrupting the food chain everywhere they go. They are well suited to the water temperature, food supply, and lack of predators of the Great Lakes and could quickly become the dominant species. Once in the lakes, it would be very difficult to control them.