U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is continuing to push for hydrological separation as the best solution for keeping Asian carp out of Lake Erie after the Ohio and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 20 out of 150 samples taken throughout Sandusky Bay and the Sandusky River have tested positive for the presence of silver carp environmental DNA (eDNA). According to the release, positive eDNA samples do not confirm the presence of Asian carp, but could be caused by the presence of live or dead carp or bodily products in bilge water, storm water from other bodies of water, or from material transported by fish-eating birds.
"Though the summer boating and fishing season will come to an end soon, the threat of an Asian carp invasion still looms over Lake Erie," Brown said. "Such an invasion would cause irreparable damage to Ohio's multi-million dollar fishing and boating industries. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must carefully study every option for permanently blocking this invasive species from entering the Great Lakes, including hydrologically separating the Lakes from the Mississippi River."
In July, the President signed legislation, cosponsored by Senator Brown, that would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the creation of a plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region. 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, meaning the Corps would have to complete its work sometime in 2013.
After the introduction of the legislation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers voluntarily said that it would expedite the creation of a plan for permanent solutions for stopping Asian carp. While that announcement was welcome news, the Corps' plan would not present fully-completed solutions, and it would focus primarily on the Chicago Waterway System, rather than all of the carp's 18 possible points of entry. The Stop Invasive Species Act requires a completed plan, with proposed solutions for all 18 possible entry ways. The plan would include proposals for engineering and infrastructure projects to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes while still allowing shipping transportation across these waterways to continue.