On Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing a study detailing the best ways to prevent Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes.
A document outlining the study says the current defense – an underwater electric barrier – should be beefed up. The recommended plan would add complex noises – like the underwater recordings of a boat motor.
Molly Flanagan, vice president of policy for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, is glad the report calls for more aggressive moves.
“We know for certain that the electric barriers, which are the only defense currently in place aren’t 100 percent effective,” said Flanagan. “We know that the harvesting efforts that are being done – while necessary – aren’t enough to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.”
Millions of dollars have been spent to keep the invasive species out of the lakes, and defenses are concentrated near the southern tip of Lake Michigan.
Two varieties -- the silver and bighead -- pose the biggest threat because of their voracious feeding habits. They consume lots of zooplankton, the microscopic animals that other fish feed on.
In June, a live Asian carp was discovered nine miles from Lake Michigan – beyond the electric barrier.
Flanagan cites that discovery, plus the continued efforts of Great Lakes politicians and organizations as reasons for the Trump administration’s release of the study – after months of delay.
Flanagan believes the administration delayed the release the study due to concerns raised by legislators and members of the shipping industry.
“Given the technologies that look like they were being considered, they look like the same ones the Corps was discussing with stakeholders prior to the report being pulled by the administration,” said Flanagan. “I’m hopeful that this means nothing has been rewritten between February and now.”
A bipartisan group of congressmen and senators recently introduced the Stop Asian Carp Now Act in Congress.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will accept public comment on the study until Sept. 21, 2017 and host two public meetings.
“This should’ve happened five months ago,” said Flanagan. “We’ve wasted a lot of time between now and then on an urgent situation.”