Congresswoman Kaptur has renewed her call to defend Lake Erie from the Asian carp by separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.
Her comments came after the Michigan and Ohio natural resources departments jointly announced that water samples taken last year from the Sandusky Bay in Ohio and North Maumee Bay in Michigan had tested positive for Asian carp environmental DNA.
"The best defense against this dangerous invasive species is to restore the natural separation between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. We must protect our precious Lake Erie fishery from this threat," Congresswoman Kaptur said.
The Michigan and Ohio DNRs said four samples taken from Sandusky Bay tested positive for bighead carp eDNA and two samples from north Maumee Bay in Michigan tested positve for silver carp. No actual carp have been found. The samples do not indicate that the invasive species have established themselves in Lake Erie. Three individual bighead carp were found in Lake Erie in 2003 but none since then.
Congresswoman Kaptur noted that the Great Lakes Commission, an eight-state compact, identified last January four strategies for restoring the divide between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds to keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes Commission report outlined three strategies for separating the two watersheds.
Congresswoman Kaptur noted that the Great Lakes ecosystem generates an estimated $7 billion in economic activity annually, including a thriving fishery, particularly in the shallow and warm Western Basin of Lake Erie.
Congresswoman Kaptur recently organized a bipartisan letter from members of Congress to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking for a full accounting of an early-May incident in which an electronic barrier against the carp in Illinois failed for 13 minutes.