WASHINGTON, D.C. – During committee consideration of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced and the Committee passed an amendment—based upon legislation, the Stop Invasive Species Act—to help combat a possible invasion of Asian carp into Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.
“Lake Erie remains vulnerable to an Asian carp invasion. Should this species make its way into the Great Lakes, the damage to Ohio’s multimillion dollar boating and fishing industries would be tremendous,” Brown said. “It is unacceptable that the Army Corps could take up to seven years to complete this study. We cannot afford to delay action to protect our lake, our fisheries, and the livelihood of the thousands of Ohioans that rely on Lake Erie to make a living. This amendment will ensure that the Corps moves quickly and thoroughly to permanently prevent Asian carp from entering our lakes and tributaries.”
Since late 2009, the Army Corps of Engineers has been working on a study of the Great Lakes and Mississippi Interbasin “to evaluate options and technologies to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.” Recently, the Corps indicated this study may not be completed until March 2016. The amendment ensures that the Corps finishes this study no later than July 1, 2014, and ensures that the Corps is fully examining the feasibility of all options, including permanent hydrological separation.
Last week, Brown joined a group of bipartisan senators to introduce legislation, the Stop Invasive Species Act, on which today’s amendment was based. The legislation would require the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region. The legislation would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to submit to Congress an expedited action plan with options for stopping Asian carp from penetrating the Great Lakes across 18 possible points of entry. The bill requires the Army Corps to submit a progress report to Congress and the President within 90 days of the law’s enactment, and the full plan would need to be completed within 18 months. Under the Stop Invasive Species Act, the Army Corps would continue to examine modes of transportation across key waterways to ensure shipping could continue while mechanisms for preventing Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes are implemented. The bill is supported by the Great Lakes Commission, The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Healing our Waters Coalition, National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited.