U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Dave Camp today introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes and destroying the Lakes' ecosystem. The Stop Invasive Species Act would require the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region.
A bipartisan bill Senator Stabenow and Congressman Camp introduced last year, the Stop Asian Carp Act, required the Army Corps of Engineers to develop an action plan to permanently separate Lake Michigan from the Chicago Area Waterway System, long seen as the carp's primary entry point to the Great Lakes. Today's bill goes further to require a plan to stop Asian carp at all potential entry points.
"It has become clear that Asian carp are migrating throughout the Great Lakes region, and efforts to stop the spread of this invasive species must now address every possible point of entry," said Senator Stabenow. "Asian carp pose a grave threat to Michigan's $7 billion fishing industry, $16 billion recreational boating industry and the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and we need action now. We can't afford to wait."
"The threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy is urgent. This measure expedites the necessary hydrological separation study in order to protect the Great Lakes, the hundreds of thousands of jobs, the Great Lakes support," said Congressman Camp.
The Stop Invasive Species Act requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to submit to Congress an expedited action plan with options for stopping Asian carp from penetrating the Great Lakes across 18 possible points of entry. The bill requires the Army Corps to submit a progress report to Congress and the President within 90 days of the law's enactment. The full plan would need to be completed within 18 months.
Under the Stop Invasive Species Act, the Army Corps would continue to examine modes of transportation across key waterways to ensure shipping could continue while mechanisms for preventing Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes are implemented.
The bill is supported by the Great Lakes Commission, The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Healing our Waters Coalition, National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited.
Congressman Camp is joined by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter as the lead Democratic sponsor in the House. Senator Stabenow and Senator Rob Portman are leading the measure in the Senate, and are joined by Senators Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, Robert Casey, Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken .