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State Officials Plan To Poison Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal To Keep Out Invasive Asian Carp

By Anna Deem in News on Nov 14, 2009 11:00PM

Photo by: burningshoes
The last time we checked in with the Asian carp, Congress had voted to allocate $6 million to help fight off their invasion, with the money going towards building permanent barriers and studying ways to get rid of the fish. On Friday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced that it would dump Rotenone, a dangerous fish-killing chemical, into the canal between Romeoville and the Lockport Dam next month.

In case you aren't an expert on Asian carp, they are known for their insatiable appetite and abundant breeding, having eaten their way up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers over the past 15 years. This past summer, researchers discovered that the fish were 10 miles closer to Lake Michigan that they had thought, which prompted immediate action to clean out the Sanitary and Ship Canal, which links to Lake Michigan.

Although poisoning the canal was considered the last possible solution to prevent the Asian carp from populating the Great Lakes, the canal near Romeoville made it seem like the only viable solution because its electrified barrier is too weak to stop the younger carp from swimming through. Fortunately, Rotenone is not a threat to people or wildlife and experts from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will monitor the water quality to ensure the chemical stays in its designated area. The canal will also be closed to boat traffic for up to five days. [Tribune]