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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Stop the carp

Minneapolis Star Tribune

1651 days ago   Article ID# 746184
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Natural Resources Defense Council

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (Minneapolis Star Tribune) - The suggestion that a dam be used to stop the Asian carp from continuing its marathon swim to Lake Michigan deserves serious consideration. It may not be the answer, but it should at least be debated and not dismissed, as some critics would prefer.

The carp could become a serious threat to the Great Lakes if it is allowed to establish a significant breeding population. All possible solutions need to be on the table, as does the idea of eventually re-establishing the natural boundary between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.

And one thing is certain: Efforts by Illinois and federal officials have so far done little to stop the carp.

The dam idea comes from a study funded by the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. The study argues that damming the Chicago canal system would block the carp and allow the water in the canal to continue to carry the city's sewage away from Lake Michigan and toward the Mississippi River, as it has done for the last century or so.

"It's not an engineering marvel," said Bill Abolt, a former commissioner of the environment for the City of Chicago who now works for the environmental engineering firm hired by the NRDC to help with the $100,000, eight-month study. "You're building a dam and installing some pumps."

What the study doesn't take into account is the effect the dam would have on the Illinois barge industry, which was critical of the study for that reason.

"If Asian carp is the face of this debate, NRDC is the face of ulterior motives and hidden agendas," said Mark Biel, chairman of the barge industry group Unlock Our Jobs. He called the plan a distraction to marshaling "a robust regional effort" to keep the carp from colonizing Lake Michigan.

Copyright 2015 Minneapolis Star Tribune   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1651 days ago   Article ID# 746184

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