WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congress passed a critical water infrastructure bill that includes an amendment introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) that would help prevent the invasion of Asian carp into the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Basins. The bipartisan amendment is based on the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, which Brown introduced last year. It would encourage more effective and efficient collaboration between state and local entities and the appropriate federal wildlife agencies that are working to slow the spread of Asian carp. Brown successfully fought for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) to include a modified version of his amendment. WRRDA will now become law with President Obama’s signature.
“Protecting the Great Lakes region and the Ohio River Basin from Asian carp is about protecting our regional economy and the livelihood of thousands of Ohioans,” Brown said. “This amendment will slow the spread of Asian carp from entering streams and rivers and jeopardizing Ohio’s fishing and recreation industries. I thank my colleagues for passing legislation that would protect the Great Lakes and the thousands of jobs they support.”
Although several federal agencies have been working to combat Asian carp, none have been designated as the lead agency to coordinate the federal response with state and local partners in the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Basins. The Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act places the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in charge of coordinating a new federal multi-agency effort that includes the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). These agencies would provide high-level technical assistance, coordination, best practices, and other means of support to state and local governments that are working to protect economies and ecosystems in the Ohio River basin from Asian carp.
Brown continues to work towards stopping the spread of Asian carp and protecting the Great Lakes and the jobs that they support. In March 2014, Brown and 10 of his Senate colleagues urged USACE to aggressively work towards implementing short term measures and finding a long term solution that would stop the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. The Senators also asked USACE for several updates on its progress implementing proposals from the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee’s feasibility study released earlier this year