Study: Lake Erie a Comfortable Place for a Menacing Species

01-23-2012 // Mary Kuhlman - Public News Service (OH)

This excerpt is from Public News Service

A menacing species of foreign fish could make itself right at home in Lake Erie, according to a new report. The study from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the Maumee, Sandusky, and Grand Rivers are hospitable environments for Asian carp, potentially allowing the invasive fish to establish a self-sustaining population in western Lake Erie.

Mark Smith, senior policy manager with the National Wildlife Federation, says it could devastate one of the most plentiful fisheries in the Great Lakes.

"Lake Erie is under severe stress right now from algae blooms to potential increased water withdrawals; you add in Asian carp that could potentially wipe out the native fish population, not only will it be an environmental impact, but impact the ecosystem in general."

Asian carp were imported to Arkansas fish farms in the 1960s and have since spread throughout the Mississippi River basin. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on how to best keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes isn't expected to be completed before the end of 2015 at the earliest. The recently-introduced Stop Asian Carp Act of 2011, which is stalled in a congressional committee, would speed up the study and require it to be completed within 18 months.

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