FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jan. 7, 2014
PORT DOVER – Permanent separation of the Mississippi River system from the Great Lakes is the only solution, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett said in the wake of a report on options to keep Asian carp out of the lakes.
Released Monday, the US Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study recommends eight alternatives to deal with the Chicago Shipping and Sanitary Canal. The fear is if Asian carp, which are currently in the Mississippi River system, invade the Great Lakes, it will decimate the multi-billion-dollar commercial and
recreational fishery. Options range from continuing the status quo with an electronic barrier in the man-made system joining the two waterways to enhancing structures to keep invasive species out of the waterway to physical separation by closing the waterway. Costs are estimated to be as much as $18 billion to construct physical barriers at Lake Michigan and could take 25 years. Other less expensive options include constructing barriers further upstream.
“I concur with the US government that ‘this is the most acute threat facing the Great Lakes today’,” Barrett said. “The cost of ignoring, or putting it off, is too great.”
Prior to the release of the study, many were critical of the length of time it took the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the study. The corps study was already underway when the Great Lakes Commission and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative decided to undertake a study in 2010, released two years ago. It recommended three options for physical separation, ranging from $3.94 billion to $9.54 billion – taking as long as 15 years to construct.
Last year, after two sterile Asian grass carp were found in the Grand River near Dunnville, Barrett reiterated his call to the Ontario government to ensure any Asian carp imported are eviscerated. Prior to Christmas, Barrett tabled a formal Order Paper Question to the Minister of Natural Resources again requesting such an import ban.
Barrett also is concerned about Asian carp entering Lake Erie directly via Eagle Marsh, near Fort Wayne, Indiana. In flood conditions, the Maumee River – which flows into western Lake Erie – can connect to Asian carp-infested waters.
Hearings on the study will be held in Cleveland, Ohio and Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as several other cities during January. Written submissions will also be accepted until March 3. The full report is available on the Internet at http://www.glmris.anl.gov/documents/docs/glmrisreport/GLMRISSummaryReport.pdf
“We need to see a solution identified and construction to start this summer,” Barrett said.
For more information contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446