Michigan Senate acts to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp
LANSING - The Michigan Senate today passed resolutions sponsored by Sens. Patty Birkholz and Randy Richardville that urge the federal government to protect the Great Lakes and Michigan’s multi-billion dollar fishing and boating industries from Asian carp.
Recent DNA tests found that Asian carp are now within eight miles of Lake Michigan after making it past an electrical fish barrier in the Chicago Canal.
“Michigan has taken a leadership role among the Great Lakes states to help protect our waters from invasive species,” said Birkholz, R-Saugatuck Township. “We know from years of damaging experience what they have done to our Great Lakes. No less threatening, the Asian carp will cause a path of destruction that will completely devastate our waters.”
Senate Resolution 100 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 encourage the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to act immediately to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and develop long-term strategies to address this problem.
Michigan’s commercial and recreational fishing industry contributes $7 billion to the state’s economy, while the Great Lakes recreational boating industry adds $9 billion more.
“The Asian carp threat is imminent,” said Richardville, R-Monroe. “Immediate and decisive action is needed by the federal government. The health of our Great Lakes and the industries that rely upon them depend on it.”
Asian carp were introduced to the Southern United States in the 1970s to control algae levels in ponds. Severe flooding in the 1990s caused the ponds to overflow allowing the carp to escape into the Mississippi River Basin.
If allowed to enter the Great Lakes, Asian carp could disrupt the ecological balance and threaten fishing and boating on the lakes. The fish are voracious feeders that could push out native wildlife. One of the two Asian carp species can jump up to 10 feet out of the water when startled by boats, injuring boaters hit by fish that can weigh up to 70 pounds.
Posted: Wednesday, December 02, 2009
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