CHICAGO – Reports of an Asian carp caught today in the Chicago Area Waterways beyond the electric barrier—the last line of defense to prevent the invasive fishes from gaining access to Lake Michigan—illustrate the dangers of continued inaction, according to experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Scientists and government regulators all agree that the invasive fish pose a dire threat to the Lakes because of their size and voracious appetites.
Following is a statement from Henry Henderson, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Midwest Program (and a former Commissioner of the Environment for the City of Chicago):
“Asian carp are like cockroaches, when you see one, you know it’s accompanied by many more you don't see. This is a nightmare scenario for anyone concerned about the health of the Great Lakes and its economy.”
“We have had fifteen years to deal with this slow motion tragedy. Perhaps this finding, along with the discovery of another species of Asian carp in the Illinois River, will convey the urgency of threat to the Great Lakes."
"The Trump Administration cannot delay for one minute more the release of a taxpayer funded study detailing how to deter the carp invasion. Illinois and Indiana, which have been blamed for obstructing action to address the issue, must join Great Lakes states to push for faster, stronger and more aggressive action. Giant jumping fish at Oak Street Beach will not help Illinois’ tourism economy.”
Just this week, members of Congress introduced legislation to force the Trump administration to release a plan outlining technologies to be employed at a key choke point in the Asian carps’ path towards Lake Michigan and the entire Great Lakes ecosystem. That plan would likely take decades to deploy, while Great Lakes conservation groups have called for faster solutions that would address movement of invasive species from both the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system through Chicago’s waterways.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.