COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today (Dec. 7) urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close a lock in waters near Illinois to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.
Attorney General DeWine made the recommendation in comments submitted to the Corps about its plan for preventing nuisance species like Asian carp from moving from the Mississippi River Basin into the Great Lakes.
The Corps’ tentatively selected plan involves the use of electrical fences, noise, and water jets to keep out invasive species, but Attorney General DeWine says that plan doesn’t go far enough to stop the spread of Asian carp. (In June, there were reports of a silver carp found nine miles from Lake Michigan, beyond electric barriers designed to block the fish.)
In his submitted comments, Attorney General DeWine writes “the Corps should implement the lock closure alternative, which will be the most effective, safest, cheapest to construct, and quickest to complete. The urgent need for action cannot be overstated.”
Lake Erie is considered especially susceptible to invasive Asian carp, which could compete with native species, cause extensive damage to the ecosystem, and devastate the fishing and tourism industries. Attorney General DeWine says that in evaluating options for blocking invasive species, the Corps underestimated the economic impacts to Lake Erie while overestimating the costs of lock closure.
Attorney General DeWine says the Corps should immediately close the lock at Brandon Road, near Joliet, Illinois, while also developing plans for complete hydrologic separation of the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins to block the spread of Asian carp.
A copy of the Attorney General DeWine’s comments can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
Mike DeWine has long been an advocate for protecting the Great Lakes. As a U.S. Senator, he introduced both the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act and the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act to address invasive species attacking Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.