WASHINGTON, D.C. – During debate of a critical water resources development bill, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment tonight introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) that would help prevent the invasion of Asian carp in the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Basins. The bipartisan amendment to the Water Resources Development Act —cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (R-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Al Franken (D-MN)—is based on the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, which Brown introduced earlier this year. It would enable the federal government to have a more effective partnership with state and local entities that are working to slow the spread of Asian carp. The amendment passed by a vote of 95-0.
“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 stop Asian carp from entering streams and rivers—like the Ohio River and the Little Miami— and secure the economic drivers shoring up Ohio’s multi-million dollar fishing and recreation industries.”
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 Army Corps of Engineers. 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 has worked on a bipartisan basis to stop Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes' ecosystem. In June 2012, he helped to pass the Stop Invasive Species Act, which requires the expedited creation of a plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region.