No real solution to Asian carp problem, study says - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

No real solution to Asian carp problem, study says

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (01/06/2013) - The United States Army Corps of Engineers released its highly anticipated report today on how to prevent the spread of invasive Asian carp into the Great Lakes, and some lawmakers are not pleased with the findings.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) got her first look at the report Monday morning, two years ahead of the Army Corps original deadline, but she did not get the concrete solution she hoped for.

"The challenge is, they gave us seven options," she said. "One was doing nothing, which of course, is not an option. And we need to get it down to one."

The carp, which were imported from Asia, pose a threat to the billion dollar fishing industry in the Great Lakes region, and to the lakes' ecosystems.

It is a problem that Stabenow is hoping to solve with legislation.

"It could really wreak havoc in so many ways with the Great Lakes," Stabenow said.

To help solve this problem, Stabenow authored the ‘Stop Invasive Species Act,' which requires the Army Corps of Engineers to provide Congress with a report on how to prevent Asian carp, and other "nuisance species," from entering the Great Lakes.

Some of the Army Corps recommendations include the physical separation of Lake Michigan from Chicago-area waterways where Asian carp DNA has been found. But that could cost up to $18 billion dollars over a quarter century.

"The Army Corps recommended several options that would take 25 years, way too long. We have to find something much quicker," Stabenow said.

Stabenow and her co-sponsors are working with lawmakers from other Great Lakes states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. She said there is too much at stake, including a $16 billion dollar boating and $7 billion dollar fishing industry.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) is one of the lawmakers involved, and he said this project is key to Ohio's economy, with 100,000 jobs tied to fishing and other recreation.

"I wish the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers' report would have identified the best option for preventing the spread of invasive species to the Great Lakes," he said, citing the report's lack of an action plan.

However, the Army Corps is taking its ideas to the people, by holding seven public meetings in various cities throughout the month.

"I encourage people to come and to express their concerns and support for getting a plan of action together as soon as possible," Stabenow said.

A plan of action that Great Lakes lawmakers say they must have soon, before it is too late.

The public meetings will be held on the following days: Chicago (Jan. 9), Milwaukee (Jan. 13), Cleveland (Jan. 16), Ann Arbor (Jan. 21), Traverse City (Jan. 23), metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul (Jan. 27), and St. Louis (Jan. 30).

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