Washington, D.C. – Today the Great Lakes Commission called for immediate action on a suite of near-term measures to reduce the risk of interbasin transfer of Asian carp and other invasive species at the Chicago Area Waterways System (CAWS).
The action is in response to the January 2014 release of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“We need short-term risk reduction for the Great Lakes and we need this to happen as soon as possible,” said Commission Chairman Kenneth G. Johnson, water division administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Near-term measures suggested by the Commission include:
- continued implementation of the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework and related efforts;
- immediate implementation of additional control measures as generally outlined in the GLMRIS alternative two (such as use of chemical controls, ballast and bilge management, habitat alternation, and controlled harvesting and overfishing);
- within three years, design, engineer and construct modifications to the Brandon Road lock and dam structure to reduce the risk of one-way transfer (into Lake Michigan), including additional electric barriers at the entrance and exit of the lock, use of fish deterrents, modifications to the gates on the dam, and other technologies; and
- design, engineer and test the “GLMRIS lock,” as a national demonstration project, to determine its viability and effectiveness at stopping both one- and two-way transfer and cost.
In addition, the Commission (representing the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces) agreed that efforts to develop and reach regional consensus on long-term solutions to prevent interbasin transfer of aquatic invasive species (AIS) should be accelerated, and should focus on AIS movements within both the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
“Congress is looking to the Great Lakes Commission to provide direction on next steps that we should take regionally and nationally to eliminate the risk of Asian carps and other invasive species entering the Great Lakes,” explained Tim Eder, the Commission’s executive director.
The Commission is requesting that the Obama Administration increase its leadership on the carp issue through its Council on Environmental Quality and that the Department of Interior be delegated the lead role and provided with the resources necessary to coordinate efforts of all other federal agencies.
To complement what is expected to be a substantial commitment of federal resources to address solutions, the Great Lakes states and provinces noted that they are willing to engage in further dialogue on potential for financing approaches that recognize AIS prevention and control is a shared responsibility. Substantial state and provincial resources are currently being invested in development of a new mutual aid agreement; and resources for research, prevention and enforcement, surveillance, management and public education programs.
The actions came at the Commission’s Semiannual Meeting and Great Lakes Day events, being held March 4-6 in Washington, D.C. The Commission passed additional resolutions focused on:
- sustaining progress under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in fiscal years 2015-19;
- strengthening federal protections against the importation and trade of invasive species; and
- endorsing the Commission’s suite of federal legislative priorities for 2014.
The meetings will conclude tomorrow with a congressional breakfast on Capitol Hill. Sen. Carl Levin (MI), who will retire in 2014, will be honored for his decades of service to the Great Lakes region.
For immediate release: March 5, 2014 | Download PDF
Contact: Tim Eder, firstname.lastname@example.org, office: 734-971-9135, cell: 734-604-7281
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Kenneth G. Johnson, water division administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formalObserver program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.