Attorneys General Enlist National Support to Combat Invasive Species by Separating Great Lakes from Mississippi River Basin

NWF supports action to find a permanent solution

08-31-2011 // Marc Smith
Zebra mussels on a stick

NWF today supported the efforts of six Great Lakes attorneys general who are urging their counterparts in 27 other states to help combat the spread of invasive species like the Asian carp throughout U.S. waters by supporting the separation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.

In a letter released today, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette urges state attorneys general across the nation to help fight the spread of invasive species, which have caused vast economic and environmental harm across the country. The artificial connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin has been a major pathway for non-native invaders to spread throughout the country. Zebra mussels, for instance, arrived in the Great Lakes through the ballast water of foreign ships—and utilized the Chicago waterway system to colonize waters as far west as Nevada and California.

See how zebra mussels spread from the Great Lakes to the rest of the country.

Until the artificial connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River is severed, U.S. waters remain at risk from the spread of invasive species like the Asian carp, which is knocking on the doorstep of Lake Michigan.

What happens in the Great Lakes doesn’t stay in the Great Lakes.  So, we applaud this effort by the Great Lakes attorneys general.” said Marc Smith, Senior Policy Manger with National Wildlife Federation. “The Chicago Waterway System is a door that swings both ways.  Finding a permanent solution to stopping the transfer of invasive species in Chicago is critical to protecting not only the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, but also waters across the country.”

Joining with Michigan in this effort include attorney general from Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and New York. 

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