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Report: Executive Summary
Stop Asian Carp and Other Invasives:
A Great Lakes and Mighty Mississippi Breakup
The Alliance released a groundbreaking report in 2008 urging a permanent breakup of the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds to stop the devastating Asian carp and other invasives from entering the Great Lakes.
In June 2010 a live Asian carp was captured in Chicago's Lake Calumet, just six miles of open water away from Lake Michigan. The 3-foot-long, 20-pound sexually mature male was the first Asian carp found beyond the last locks protecting the Great Lakes, and miles beyond the electric barrier meant to keep the devastating fish out of the lakes.
The idea of restoring the natural physical barriers that once separated Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River continues to gain momentum with policy makers, conservationists and Congress, which recently introduced a legislation calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite and complete a study of the feasibility of permanently severing the two major watersheds.
The Alliance report, "Preliminary Feasibility of Ecological Separation of the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes," outlines six options for separating the watersheds and ending the transfer of species between them.
Co-authored by Alliance President Joel Brammeier with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the study identifies several sites upstream from an electrical barrier erected to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan some 20 miles away as likely contenders for ecological separation.
Among the recommendations, the study:
The complex waterway system, engineered in 1900 to reverse the flow of the Chicago River, carries Chicago’s wastewater away from Lake Michigan and supports thousands of recreational boaters and the flow of approximately 25 million tons of bulk commodities annually. The study advises that smart investment in new infrastructure can benefit users while eliminating the risk of invasion.
The study was funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and Great Lakes Fishery Trust.
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