Today, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH) announced the introduction of the bipartisan Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act (H.R. 6385). This legislation will make the federal government a more effective partner with state and local entities that are working to slow the spread of Asian carp in two of America's most significant watersheds.
"The arrival of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi River basin represents a significant and immediate threat to Minnesota's way of life and our billion dollar outdoor recreation economy," said Congresswoman McCollum. "All levels of government, along with nonprofit and private sector partners, have a role to play in slowing the spread of this invasive species and eventually eliminating it altogether. This legislation ensures the federal government fulfills its responsibility to be an engaged, effective and accountable partner with Minnesota and other states in our fight against Asian carp."
"We cannot allow Asian Carp to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes and devastate the recreational boating and sport fishing economy," Congressman LaTourette said. "The federal government should play a key role to prevent and control the invasion of the prolifically breeding, ravenously hungry Asian Carp."
Several federal agencies now have a role in efforts to stop Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River Basins, including the National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. However, none of these agencies have been designated as the lead agency to coordinate and focus the federal response with state and local partners.
In a roundtable Congresswoman McCollum convened at the University of Minnesota in July 2012, Minnesota conservation leaders said the success of their efforts to confront the spread of Asian carp relies on improved leadership and support at the federal level. The White House and House Appropriations Committee recognized the limitations of the current federal approach to Asian carp in these regions and worked with Congresswoman McCollum to craft a solution.
The Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act responds to the needs of Minnesota and 15 other states by placing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in charge of coordinating a new federal multi-agency effort that includes the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Army Corps of Engineers. These agencies will provide high-level technical assistance, coordination, best practices, and other means of support to state and local governments that are working to protect economies and ecosystems in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins from Asian carp.