By Howard Meyerson
Grand Rapids, Mich. – Federal and state agencies intend to spend $74.2 million over the next two years to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. New control techniques are being developed and a third electrical barrier is planned for the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, according to federal officials.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is building the electrical barrier. It will be online by 2017,” said Mike Wiemer, co-chairman of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, a multi-agency task force formed in 2009 that released the “2015 Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework” in June, calling for 48 different actions.
Among them is:
* Improved monitoring to assess Asian Carp behavior and population densities and further development of the technology;
* Using piscicides to target and kill carp without harming other species;
* Using chemical attractants to concentrate carp populations so they can be physically removed by commercial fisherman;
* Deployment of sound pressure waves using water guns to deter passage; and
* Development and deployment of carbon dioxide barriers to deter carp passage.
“The U.S. Geological Survey is working on the use of a CO2 device to keep the fish from working between the waterways,” said Weimer, a senior fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They are testing it now and are getting good results. We hope to implement that as soon as possible. And the Army Corp of Engineers is going forward with exploring construction of an aquatic invasive species lock that can be used at strategic locations.”
Asian carp have advanced to within 55 miles of Lake Michigan, according to the 2015 strategy, which indicates no change since 2006. Silver carp were found at Dresden Island Pool on the Illinois River, 18 miles downstream from the electric barriers. Spawning adults were found 64 miles downstream from Lake Michigan while an established population was found 110 miles downstream.
The immediate work will be divided among the various partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Coast Guard, and Illinois and Ohio Departments of Natural Resources. Funding for it comes from Congressional and state appropriations to the agencies and $16 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
“We have the 2015 funds and the work is going forward,” Wiemer said. “A lot of this work (the specific action steps) will take multiple years to complete. Not all of it will be done in 2015 and we are going to need additional funding. Some have an end point, but others are ongoing, like monitoring or having commercial fisherman hitting the leading edge of the population and fishing it down.”
© 2015 Howard Meyerson
Appears in Michigan Outdoor News.