Great Lakes' Mayors Calling for Action on Asian Carp Invasion

Mayors from Canada and the U.S. are urging immediate action on the threat of Asian carp in the Chicago area waterway system.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a coalition of Canadian and U.S. mayors and municipal leaders, submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the issue.

Several species of Asian carp were introduced to ponds in the southern U.S. to control vegetation in the 1970's. They escaped into the ecosystem after flooding events helped them make their way into the Mississippi watershed.

President and CEO of the Initiative, told AM800's The Afternoon News that mayors around the Great Lakes are growing more and more frustrated with a lack of action to a problem they saw coming decades ago.

"We've been working on this for quite some time now, actually the entire Asian Carp issue with the {U.S. Army} Corps of Engineers has been going on for 19-years and our mayors are getting very frustrated and very impatient with the effort," he says.

Measures like electric fish barriers, water jets, noisemakers and other devices to prevent the carp from using Chicago area waterways to reach Lake Michigan are being used or recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Dickert says it might be too late for half measures.

"We've held out our luck for quite a while, the temporary procedure right now has to work and the mayors are looking for a long-term solution that would include separating the lake and the rivers completely," he says.

Asian carp can grow to be anywhere from 50 to 100lbs and can eat several times their own body weight in vegetation every day.

Dickert says, if they make their way into the Great Lakes, the regions ecosystem will never be the same.

"It's check mate then because what they'll do is they'll come up the coastal regions, they'll eat everything in their path before they get into the tributaries. They'll do just what they've done all the way up from New Orleans," says Dickert. "Years ago people said, 'they'll never make it up north because it's too cold.' These are some of the most adaptive fish on the planet and they've adapted just fine."

The Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation called on representatives in Michigan and Ohio to help put a stop to a Grass carp invasion that's originating from the Sandusky River back in July of 2018.