Hinterland Green

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Feared Asian Carp May Have Breached Barriers Designed to Keep Them Out of the U.S. Great Lakes

There are signs that the Asian carp may have breached barriers designed to keep it out of the Great Lakes. Authorities said that could spell ecological disaster for the vital source of fresh water. Concentrations of DNA discovered by Notre Dame University researchers may indicate the presence of bighead and silver carp upstream from two electrical barriers designed to bottle up the invasive fish. Environmentalists say that if the fish reach the Great Lakes, about 20 miles from the barriers, they would quickly destroy the lakes' $4.5 billion fishery by consuming other fish and their food sources. Only Lake Superior among the five lakes may be too cold for the carp, which can reproduce rapidly and reach 100 pounds (45 kg). The Great Lakes are the world's largest body of surface fresh water and are relied on by 30 million people in the United States and Canada for drinking water and recreation.

The barriers are on the Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal, which is fed by several waterways that flow away from Lake Michigan. The canal is connected by various rivers to the Mississippi River. Two electrical barriers constructed in recent years in the canal near Chicago were designed to shock the carp and keep them out of the lake. The DNA could be from carp feces or eggs carried by ship and barge traffic, but it could indicate the carp have breached the barriers. Environmentalists called for the immediate closing of several locks separating the lakes from the inland waterways, and pressed for a permanent solution that would separate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River watershed.

To read the entire article from Reuters, CLICK HERE.
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