U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, author of legislation to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, issued the following statement today after, for the second time in as many weeks, new evidence has been discovered of Asian carp beyond the electronic barrier designed to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes. This finding has now triggered the new Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan (MRRP) created earlier this year. Sen. Stabenow said:
"I don't know what it's going to take to finally get enough leaders to realize the full severity of the Asian carp threat. I am pleased that the newly created rapid response plan will be put into action, but this is not an adequate long-term solution. The only permanent solution is the separation of the Chicago Area Waterway System from the Great Lakes, and it's long past time to implement that. If we do not see action, the Great Lakes will continue to remain vulnerable to irreversible disaster."
Senator Stabenow has been a leader in the effort to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Stabenow's Stop Asian Carp Act would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create an action plan determining the best options for permanently separating the Chicago Area Waterway System from Lake Michigan, where experts believe Asian Carp could enter and cause irreparable harm to the Great Lakes. Sen. Stabenow introduced the Stop Asian Carp Act in March.
According to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan this new eDNA finding sets into action includes three levels of response triggers. This MRRP level 1 response adds commercial fishing crews as well as additional electrofishing boats, larger sweeping nets (called seines), and additional sampling gear to the area during an intensive four day fishing period.
Michigan's $7 billion fishing industry, $16 billion recreational boating industry and thousands of Michigan jobs depend on the health of the Great Lakes.