WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced his support for the Stop Asian Carp Act, a bill aimed at preventing the potential migration of Asian Carp from the Mississippi River into the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie.
“Asian carp poses a serious threat not only to the delicate ecosystem in Lake Erie, but also to Ohio’s economy, which relies in large part on the lake’s opportunities for fishing, boating, and drinking water,” Brown said. “The Administration should be applauded for their attention to the Asian carp issue, but Congress can and should do more to ensure that this invasive species stays far away from the Great Lakes and Lake Erie. The Stop Asian Carp Act will help protect Lake Erie and ensure that it remains one of America’s best and most productive fisheries, and a source of enjoyment for Ohioans for years to come.”
The bill would direct the Army Corps of Engineers to study the watersheds of the Illinois, Chicago, and Calumet rivers to determine the feasibility and best way to implement hydrologic separation of the rivers from the Great Lakes. The study would address flooding, wastewater, stormwater, and safety concerns. The study would also look at alternative pathways for barge and recreational boating traffic. The bill would also direct the USGS and the Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor and survey the waters of the Great Lakes basin to identify additional threats from Asian Carp, and to identify means of prevention.
Asian carp is an invasive species that would threaten the ecosystem of Lake Erie. Researchers have found that in many sections of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, Asian carp are the only species present. More than 185 species of fish, mussels, and plants from Asia and Eastern Europe are already in the Great Lakes system, choking out native species.
In December 2010, the President signed the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, which adds the bighead carp species of Asian carp to a list of injurious species that are prohibited from being imported or shipped in the United States under the Lacey Act. The Stop Asian Carp Act is identical to legislation introduced in the 111th Congress, the CARP Act, of which Brown was also an original cosponsor.
In May 2010, Brown visited the University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center to discuss efforts to combat Asian carp, and in December 2009, Brown signed a letter urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address the spread of Asian carp. He helped pass the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact, which establishes common stewardship goals for the Great Lakes and a common set of rules that will be followed by the eight Great Lakes states. He also fought to include more than $475 million in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget for Great Lakes cleanup, of which nearly $60 million has been devoted to initiatives aimed at preventing an influx of Asian carp.