Yesterday, the Healing Our Waters Coalition sent Great Lakes Czar Cameron Davis a comprehensive 12-point plan to halt the advance of the Asian Carp. We have to stop the fish from getting a foothold in the Great Lakes ecosystem and this calls for immediate action.
The recommendations are as follows:
- Temporarily close the locks leading to Lake Michigan.
- Stop reacting to each bit of news, instead outline the possible scenarios agencies expect to face in the near term and delineate what actions should be triggered by each event. (For example: how much eDNA evidence would trigger the use of fish poison?)
- Take steps to stop the carp from spawning this spring and Summer.
- Finish the Dispersal Barrier Efficacy Study by August. Immediately implement the recommendations from the study’s first interim report. Build barriers on the Des Plaines River and the Calumet-Sag Channel.
- Use full power when operating the electric barrier.
- Close the sluice gates at the Wilmette Pumping Station and install interim barriers in the Grand Calumet and Little Calumet Rivers.
- Strictly enforce the Coast Guard’s prohibition of ballast/bilge water transfers to and from below and above the electronic barriers.
- Expand eDNA testing and use eDNA results to make management decisions. The EPA reviewed and approved the eDNA method.
- Make resources and lab capacity available for quick processing and more collection of eDNA.
- Immediately implement the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force’s November 2007 Asian carp management plan.
- Use a Memorandum of Understanding between agencies to provide clear authority on instituting emergency actions. We recommend that the EPA take the lead role coordinating government action through the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force.
- Expedite the Chicago portion, including all National Environmental Policy Act requirements of the Great lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Transfer Study and complete it by 2011 instead of 2014. (That calls for ecological separation of the basins.)
- Finally, don’t forget to fully fund these actions.
The letter urges a “can do” attitude and points out that Congress has provided broad discretion to take action against the Asian carp. “To now claim that additional authority is needed seems to prioritize an overly narrow focus on process rather than on getting the work done with the tools the Congress already has provided. We will support legal clarity where needed, but we cannot support parsing of legislative language when the region faces one of its biggest crisis,” the letter states.