SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. – Today, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced his support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes through the Chicago Area Waterway System, as well the formation of the Great Lakes Basin Partnership to Block Asian Carp. The partnership includes Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Ontario, which will provide strategic and financial resources in support of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Brandon Road plan.
“We greatly appreciate Governor Snyder’s support for the plan to stop Asian carp and Michigan’s willingness to take the lead with Ontario, Wisconsin and Ohio,” said Marc Smith, director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center. “We hope this financial commitment will be a catalyst for action to protect the fishing, recreation and tourism economies and way of life for millions of people throughout the Great Lakes region.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a plan in August to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The plan calls for a gauntlet of technologies to be placed in an engineered channel. The technologies include an electrical barrier, water jets, complex sound frequencies designed to repel Asian carp and a flushing lock. A coalition of 50 sportsmen’s and conservation organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation and Michigan United Conservation Clubs, submitted a letter of support for the plan, which advocated for full federal funding.
"Reaching consensus on a solution is one part of keeping carp out of the Great Lakes. Removing any financial barrier to getting that solution implemented as quickly as possible is another," MUCC Executive Director Dan Eichinger said. "Governor Snyder has positioned Michigan to lead the way in breaking those barriers down, and our hunting, fishing, and conservation community commends and supports him in his efforts to do so."
Asian carp include four species of invasive fish — bighead, silver, black and grass carp — which were imported in the 1960s and 1970s to southern aquaculture facilities to clean retention ponds. They later escaped into the Mississippi River watershed during flood events in the ensuing decades. As filter feeders without native predators, they can quickly colonize new waters they invade by reproducing quickly and consuming the base of the aquatic food chain. This process starves out native fish like sportfish, which make up the Great Lakes' $7 billion sportfishing economy. Additionally, silver carp – which can weigh up to 60 pounds – leap out of the water when disturbed by boat motors. This creates a safety hazard for boaters on lakes and rivers that the carp inhabit.
The Tentatively Selected Plan is an interim step in the Corps’ planning process. The Corps expects to submit a final plan to Congress for authorization and funding by August 2019.
With 6 million members and supporters nationwide, the National Wildlife Federation’s mission is to unite Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a changing world. Founded in 1937, Michigan United Conservation Clubs unites citizens to conserve, protect and defend Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.
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