Dear Mr. Goss:
We are writing in regard to the Army Corp of Engineers (Army Corps) Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). As Senators from Great Lakes states, we are committed to protecting these precious natural resources and appreciate the opportunity to engage with you to develop solutions to prevent the spread of Asian carp into these waters.
Authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, GLMRIS was intended to identify a range of options to prevent the transfer of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basins. As you know, the report released by the Army Corps on January 6, 2014, included several near-term alternatives, as well as more complex, multi-billion dollar, long-term projects, which continue to be debated.
While disagreements about prevention measures remain, the Asian carp threat persists, and urgent action is needed. The immediate path forward should include a set of short- and medium-term actions, which should be able to garner regional consensus more readily to strengthen protection for the Great Lakes. To facilitate this effort, we understand the Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee is working with regional stakeholders to identify common ground regarding short-, medium-, and long-term efforts to safeguard the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species.
We look forward to hearing from the Advisory Committee on their recommendations. As the Asian Carp Director, we ask for your leadership to help guide a productive dialogue among all impacted stakeholders that includes a focus on practical, immediate solutions with broad support across all impacted stakeholders. We also ask for your leadership in encouraging the Advisory Committee to make recommendations as soon as possible, in particular regarding the short- and medium-term technologically feasible actions that maintain commercial navigation and recreational boating, preserve the integrity of existing flood control systems, protect water quality, and enjoy broad support. We also ask for your continued support in making progress toward identifying the best long-term solutions.
We appreciate the significant role you have played in leading the Asian carp management strategy over the past several years and look forward to continuing to work with you to protect the Great Lakes and the environment.