Proos: Canada protecting our Great Lakes

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LANSING – The Canadian government recently announced that they will be devoting $17.5 million toward the fight to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes watershed, said Sen. John Proos.

“I applaud the actions of our Canadian friends in fulfilling their role as a basin partner in helping to protect the integrity of our Great Lakes,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “They were early participants in the Great Lakes Basin Compact to guard against diversions of our Great Lakes waters and now they are stepping forward to help protect our lakes from these invasive species. Both actions illustrate their deep commitment to safeguarding this most precious resource.”

Canada pledged to spend $17.5 million to protect the Great Lakes from silver and bighead carp, commonly known as Asian carp. The funds will be used to develop an early warning system and for working with law enforcement agencies to prevent unlawful transport of the fish.

“I thank the Canadian leaders for acting and repeat my call for action from our own federal government,” Proos said. “Once again, I urge the president to immediately close the Chicago locks to prevent an ecological and economic disaster. The livelihoods of thousands of Southwest Michigan families are at risk. Time is a luxury we do not have.”

Scientists say the voracious feeders would threaten the Great Lakes ecosystem and devastate the lakes’ $7 billion ?shing industry. The battleground is currently the Chicago-area canals that link Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River watershed.

“Aquatic invasive species like Asian carp should be a top priority and deserve our full attention,” Proos said. “This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose. The impact of Asian carp getting into Lake Michigan would be catastrophic. Billions of dollars in economic activity would be lost and thousands of Michigan jobs would be wiped out.”

Last year the Senate adopted a resolution calling for the federal government to immediately close the O’Brien Lock and Dam in the Chicago Waterway System and keep the locks closed until federal legislation to prevent the migration of Asian carp and other invasive species into Lake Michigan is enacted into law.

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”

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