As the Senate debates a water resources development bill this week, U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have introduced a bipartisan amendment that would help prevent the invasion of Asian carp in the Ohio River basin. The amendment to the Water Resources Development Act is based on the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, which the senators introduced earlier this year and would enable the federal government to have a more effective partnership with state and local entities that are working to slow the spread of Asian carp.
"Southwestern Pennsylvania's iconic three rivers and our state's beautiful great lake are vital for both commerce and recreation," Toomey said. "The spread of Asian carp threatens this, and the federal government must act as a cooperative partner with state and local governments to stop this invasive species and protect the Ohio River basin's ecosystem and economy. This amendment will help do just that, and I urge my colleagues to join us in defending the Ohio River basin against this invasive species."
"Asian carp pose a threat to ecosystems in the Great Lakes and the Ohio River basin. It is imperative that we provide resources to address the threat that Asian carp pose to all Ohio waterways," Brown said. "This bipartisan amendment would coordinate a federal effort to stop Asian carp from entering streams and rivers in our states. This is a commonsense amendment that is critical for the health and success of Ohio business and the health of our waterways."
Although several federal agencies have been working to combat Asian carp, none have been designated as the lead agency to coordinate the federal response with state and local partners in the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Basins. The Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act places 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 would 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 Ohio River basin from Asian carp.