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Asian Carp: 'Nice Try, Suckers'

By Prescott Carlson in News on Nov 20, 2009 10:05PM

Is it any surprise that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers couldn't properly maintain a levee to hold up against a hurricane when they can't even seem to keep a fish out of Lake Michigan? New word from the Corps in the fight against the Asian carp is that they've discovered the fish's DNA beyond an electronic barrier that was set up along the Illinois River to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes. The new evidence was found a mere 7 miles from Lake Michigan, and at this point if the carp makes its way through a navigational lock it's home free from there, and its feeding habits will wreak havoc on the Great Lakes native species. Cameron Davis, from the Environmental Protection Agency, said that the DNA evidence is "very accurate" in terms of indicating the fish's presence.

Previously it was announced that Congress was providing $6 million in assistance to bulk up the barricade, and just last week the state announced it would be dumping the poison Rotenone into a canal near Romeoville to kill off the fish, but it looks like these measures have come too late. An order has been issued to "clean out" the Sanitary and Ship Canal in an emergency effort.

Henry Henderson, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest Program did not mince words about the Army Corps of Engineers' shortcomings -- in a statement issued this afternoon, Henderson said:

"Today’s announcement that Asian carp have gotten past the electric fish fence is sobering, but predictable. The responsible federal and state agencies have known about this problem for 13 years, but have utterly failed to act with the urgency that this threat requires. The prospect of 100 pound fish off of Oak Street Beach and leaping out at boaters in the Great Lakes should spur action that should have been undertaken years ago. We have seen how zebra and quagga mussels have literally transformed Lake Michigan, and I fear that the Asian carp could do far worse to the ecosystem... The Army Corps of Engineers needs to stop reacting to events, and get ahead of this problem with real solutions...The only thing aggressive about the virtual fish fence has been its multi-million dollar price tag."