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Despite New Fence, Asian Carp Still Approaching Great Lakes

October 25, 2010

LANSING, Mich. - Voracious eaters and prolific breeders, Asian carp pose a tremendous threat to Lake Erie. Efforts continue on many fronts to stop the invasive species from entering the Great Lakes ecosystem, where experts fear the fish could destroy part of the food chain and cause economic and ecological disasters.

According to Andy Buchsbaum, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation, while much focus has been on the carp infesting Lake Michigan, Lake Erie is also in danger.

"Lake Erie would be an ideal habitat for Asian carp. If this species finds its way to Lake Erie, folks in Ohio will have a much bigger problem than anywhere else in the Great Lakes."

Last week, the state of Indiana completed construction of an 8-foot-high, 1,200-foot-long fence to help prevent the carp from entering the Great Lakes through the Wabash River system. John Goss with the Council on Environmental Quality, says this is only one of dozens of strategies in the works.

"We're looking at pathways that might potentially connect in the state of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and so on, in addition to the Chicago area waterway where the primary focus has been."

The shores of Lake Erie reach southeastern Michigan just south of Detroit. Experts say the fish could get to Lake Erie during floods, washing in through river systems.

Buchsbaum says controlling flooding is important, but what's also needed is to accelerate plans to shut off Chicago canals from Lake Michigan, including a permanent physical barrier to halt invasive species from the Mississippi River.




Amy Miller/Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MI