Corps Asian Carp Study Must be Improved

Asian carp threat to the Great Lakes requires the Corps improve their invasive species study and move quickly towards real solutions to preventing Asian carp.

04-01-2011 // Trilby Becker

NWF continued its leadership role to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes by submitting comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study. NWF helped bring together 108 partnering organizations from the United States and Canada to sign on to comments aimed at improving the Corps' study on preventing the two-way transfer of aquatic invaders between the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins.

Read the full text of the sign-on letter to the Corps (pdf) from 108 organizations and the full technical comments (pdf) on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study. 

In the comments, NWF urged the Corps to stick to the guidelines mandated by Congress to research only the solutions that would prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species like Asian carp between the basins, rather than also researching steps that would only reduce the risk of invasive species. 

The only way to guarantee 100% prevention is through hydrologic separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.  Therefore only solutions that achieve hydrological separation should be considered by the Corps of Engineers.

In addition, the Corps proposed invasive species study takes far too long.  The Corps should acknowledge the urgency of finding a permanent solution and condense the five year timeline to produce results within 18 months. The Chicago Area Waterways System presents the most urgent risk of Asian carp entry into the Great Lakes.

The Corps' study should develop a solution to the Chicago pathway first, and act on other aquatic pathways based on the greatest likelihood of invasion. The Corps should save time by integrating the scientific results from other bi-national studies currently underway, after an independent critical review.

Forty percent of the Great Lakes fall within Canada. The Corps should therefore host a public meeting in Canada to hear comments from stakeholders who are concerned with the impact of an Asian carp invasion to shared international waters. The Corps should hold regular discussion forums throughout the duration of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study to answer questions from the public.

Get Our E-Newsletter 
Subscribe to National Wildlife Magazine!