You've likely seen the videos of people driving boats down the Mississippi River and other systems as large fish fly into and around the boat. While it makes for amusing video, the introduction of Asian carp into the ecosystem is a concern for many.
The Indiana Catfish Conservation Assocation recently posted the following notice, and the Indiana Chamber is happy to be involved with these education forums:
The Indiana Wildlife Federation in partnership with the Little River Wetland Project, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Indiana Forum, Inc. announce three educational forums to be held this fall.
The meetings will cover the progress of control efforts to keep Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species out of the Great Lakes. The forums will also provide background information in preparation for the Army Corp of Engineers report expected to publish in January, 2014, which will present alter-natives for stopping Asian carp and all aquatic invasive species transfers between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basins.
All stakeholders and the public are invited to attend.
Asian carp are a serious threat to the waterways of the Great Lakes, but the solution to their potential invasion must not create additional economic harm.
The carp, which can weigh up to 100 pounds, are predators. They would threaten numerous fish species native to the area, the broader environmental balance and even boaters and tourists striving to enjoy recreational opportunities. Once positive contributors to helping remove algae from Southern fish ponds, they are now regarded as among the most dangerous of invasive species.
One misguided attempt to deal with the risk is to close the navigational locks in the Chicago area. This would disrupt hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of shipping and essentially sever Northwest Indiana’s crucial water-based commerce with the rest of the world.
Federal investment, in the form of additional electric barriers, would prove more effective in keeping the carp out of the Great Lakes while still allowing Indiana and the other states in the region to maintain the shipping prowess that benefits so many companies and their employees.
Washington is paying attention – as it should. The barrier plan emerged from a White House-led summit. Indiana and its neighbors must now work together to support this prudent alternative. The threat is real; a radical closure of shipping lanes and economic opportunity, however, is not the answer.
A new organization called Unlock Our Jobs has formed to tackle this issue, offering alternative options while keeping our waterways open for business. Its web site can also help you quantify the economic impact of river traffic and lock closures on your state.