Following the release of a new report on strategies to stop Asian carp, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congressman Dave Camp, and representatives of leading Great Lakes organizations today called on the Army Corps of Engineers to move quickly and complete an action plan to protect the Great Lakes from this serious threat. The report was commissioned by the non-profit Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. The report identified three separate ways to restore the natural divide between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, while also modernizing the Chicago Area Waterway System and allowing shipments across these waterways to continue. Each plan was developed by the engineering firm HRD, Inc.
Last year, Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp introduced the Stop Asian Carp Act, legislation requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to create an action plan with strategies for permanently separating the Mississippi River Basin from Lake Michigan to keep the invasive species out of our waters. The legislation required the full plan be completed and given to Congress 18 months after being enacted. The report released today, similar to the one the Stop Asian Carp Act would require, was completed within the 18 month time frame, demonstrating that the action plan the bill calls for can be completed in a timely fashion. Stabenow, Camp and leaders of Great Lakes organizations today urged the Army Corps to move swiftly and build off the work in the report being released today, before Asian carp cause irreparable harm to the Great Lakes and Michigan's economy.
Senator Stabenow said, "I applaud and thank the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative for completing this report, and for everything they do to help protect the Great Lakes. Congressman Camp and I introduced the bipartisan Stop Asian Carp Act to require the Army Corp of Engineers to develop an action plan within 18 months, to stop this dangerous invasive species from causing irreparable harm to the Great Lakes. Some said this could not be done in 18 months, but these groups have completed a similar report within that time frame. We must act now to protect the Great Lakes and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on them."
Congressman Camp said, "The threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy is urgent, and I appreciate the work of the Great Lakes Commission and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. This study shows that hydrological separation is both technically and economically feasible. I am hopeful their study will lay the ground work to make permanent separation a reality in order to protect the Great Lakes, the hundreds of thousands of jobs, and $7 billion economy the Great Lakes support."
Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, said, "Physically separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds is the best long-term solution for preventing the movement of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species, and our report demonstrates that it can be done."
David Ullrich, Executive Director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, said, "This is a unique opportunity for both protection of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River and for a Chicago waterway system for the 21st century and beyond. No single use of the CAWS, including transportation, flood control and wastewater treatment, can be considered individually. The system requires an integrated approach and that is what we have taken."
Today's report and all supporting materials are available at www.glc.org/caws.