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Asian Carp Update: Durbin, Carp Czar, and crazy guys with Shotguns!

By JoshMogerman in News on Jun 26, 2010 7:00PM

Photo via Illinois Department of Natural Resources
This week’s discovery of a bighead carp in Lake Calumetcould be a game changer” according to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who was at the Shedd Aquarium on Friday to rollout some new efforts to stave off the alien fish invasion. As neighboring states continue to overflow with angst over a potential carp catastrophe, the Senator seems to be signaling a ramp up of federal anti-Asian carp efforts in light of the troubling proximity of the fish to Lake Michigan. Beyond the captured carp, environmental DNA tests have also pointed to the fishy menace in Calumet Harbor and MWRD’s Wilmette Pumping station, both beyond the electric fence that was supposed to keep the massive filter feeders out of Lake Michigan.

The press conference unveiled two new potential engagements for the feds in the region. Durbin and ten other Senators sent a letter to the White House asking for a new “Carp Czar” be appointed to oversee federal efforts to battle invasive species throughout the Great Lakes, a role that had been with the US EPA for Asian carp.

"We have to do everything in our power to stop this invasive species from entering Lake Michigan," Durbin said. "We have to go at this as if we were at war. The viability of the Great Lakes is at stake."

That military reference was particularly appropriate as the Senator also announced that he and Michigan Senator Stabenow will introduce a bill next week to force the Army Corps of Engineers to speed up their engineering evaluation of a potential re-separation of the Great Lakes basin and Mississippi River system, which was artificially breached when the Chicago River’s flow was reversed. The Corps plans to take years to evaluate this issue, while the new bill would call for a completion of the study in 18 months.

So, if you are sick of the carp story, you are clearly out of luck. Expect to be bombarded by carp crap for months to come in the form of headlines and shotgun vs. carp videos like the one below (NSFW due to language).