U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, author of the Stop Invasive Species Act signed by President Obama last week, made the following statement after the discovery of Asian carp eDNA in Lake Erie - the first ever discovered in the Great Lakes.
"This alarming discovery underscores the need for action now to stop Asian carp and other invasive species from devastating our Great Lakes and the hundreds of thousands of Michigan jobs that depend on them. Temporary fixes have proven inadequate and evidence of this dangerous invasive species is now being detected for the first time in the Great Lakes. The new law I authored with Congressman Camp requires the Army Corps of Engineers to act quickly to prevent the destruction of the Great Lakes ecosystem, which is critical to our Michigan way of life."
The latest eDNA report indicates 6 positive samples out of a total of 417 samples taken from Lake Erie in August, 2011. The 6 positive hits are the first samples of Asian carp eDNA found within the Great Lakes. These findings come in the wake of a May, 2012 complete shutdown of the electric barriers in the Chicago area waterway system. The barriers, meant to keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, partially failed again in June.
The Stop Invasive Species Act, written by Sen. Stabenow and Congressman Dave Camp, was signed into law last week by President Obama. The law requires the expedited 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is required 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 law requires the Army Corps to submit a progress report to Congress and the President within 90 days of the law's enactment, leaving 83 days for the Corps to finish their report. The full plan would need to be completed within 18 months, meaning the Corps would have to complete its work in 2013.
After Stabenow and Camp introduced their legislation, the Army Corps voluntarily said they would begin work on a plan for permanent solutions for stopping Asian carp.