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    Asian Carp are a growing concern for the Great Lakes ecosystem. Because Asian Carp's main diet is plankton, an organism that is very low on the food chain, introduction of the invasive species to the Great Lakes could upset the balance of the delicate ecosystem. Although Asian Carp would most likely not affect the whole ecosystem, it would have a significant effect on game fish such as Walleye, Salmon, and Perch. The spread of Asian Carp could cause an estimated $7 billion loss in fisheries every year due to smaller populations of commercial fish. Fisheries would not be the only industry to lose money from Asian Carp. Asian Carp would also have a significant impact on tourism. Silver Carp, one species of Asian Carp, can jump out of the water and strike people in boats. These leaping fish, that reach up to 100 pounds, cause numerous injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to concussions and broken bones. .

    Congressman Dave Camp (R), along with Debbie Stabenow (D), introduced the Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today (CARPACT) on January 20, 2010. This act gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) the responsibility of creating a plan to prevent the spread of Asian Carp to the Great Lakes by January 2014. Details of the plan grant the USACE the authority to eliminate Asian Carp by the use of necessary means (fish toxins, commercial fishing, harvesting, etc). In addition, it allows the Army Corps of Engineers to build barriers as well as improve existing barriers in waterways that flow into the Great Lakes. The USACE have already started installing barriers in the Chicago waterways, but problems have begun to arise. One problem critics have is that the electric barriers only stop adult fish; juveniles smaller than 2 inches can slip through the fences unharmed. Also, electric barriers can shut off during power outages leaving the river unprotected until the power is up and running again.  The bill is currently in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, awaiting approval or denial.

    The USCAE is also currently working on developing a much larger plan to stop the spread of Asian Carp called Basin Separation. The plan includes a complete separation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Watershed. Unfortunately the plan would require a complete re-plumbing of Chicago as well as multi-billions of dollars to complete the project.

    Recently, the USCAE announced that a range of options will be ready by the deadline but a specific solution will not. This frustrates some people such as Bill Schuette, Michigan's Attorney General, who plans to bring legal action against the USCAE in an effort to put plans into action. "The states cannot afford to wait on a federal government which fails to act, as this ecological disaster has been building for years" says Schuette. Debbie Stabenow, in response to the USCAE announcement stated, "Refusal to follow the law and submit a complete plan to stop Asian Carp is completely unacceptable."

    In defense, David Wethington, project manager of the USCAE stated, "It's a very complex challenge that we're looking at." One large challenge the USCAE faces is that many of the solutions offered come with a variety of other problems. For example, a current solution to the Carp infestation is with various locks in waterways. These locks impede the shipping industry by slowing down the ships, which forces more freight onto the highways. Not only is this more expensive for the shipping companies, but it is also detrimental to the environment as well as dangerous for the transport of dangerous chemicals on roads.

    Although many people are opposed to the spread of Asian Carp, some people embrace it. Michael Borgstrom, president of Wendella Sightseeing, believes the spread is inevitable and "There's other ways for them to get into the lakes as well." Some people have even started harvesting the Asian Carp for animal feed as well as for Omega-3 fish oil. American Heartland recently started a partnership with Chinese investor Lu Xu Wu to send 35 million pounds of Carp to China within three years.


    Allington, Adam. "Asian carp great lakes industries worry about basin separation part 2" michiganradio.org. http://www.michiganradio.org/post/asian-carp-great-lakes-industries-worry-about-basin-separation-part-2

    "Schuette continues fight against asian carp." wtvbam.com. http://wtvbam.com/news/articles/2012/oct/10/shuette-continues-fight-against-asian-carp/

    "Senator Stabenow: Army Corps' refusal to follow law, submit complete Asian carp plan ‘' ‘unacceptable'" stabenow.senate.gov. http://www.stabenow.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=883

    Williams, Rebecca. "Asian Carp and the Great Lakes: Separating the Basins (Part 1)." environmentreport.org. http://www.environmentreport.org/show.php?showID=673

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