No Asian Carp in Chicago Waterway
Results Indicate Reliability of Electric Barriers, Suggest No Reason to Close Locks
At a cost of $1.5 million to taxpayers, a week-long closure of a two-mile stretch of the Little Calumet River above electrical barriers placed to repel Asian carp from gaining access to the Great Lakes, a fish poisoning of more than 100,000 fish has yielded no Asian carp. The operation was spurred by one positive hit of the non-peer reviewed Asian carp eDNA tests. No live fish have been seen beyond the electric barriers. The American Waterways Operators (AWO), the national trade association for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, pointed out today that currently, evidence of an imminent threat of Asian carp to the Great Lakes ecosystem does not exist and there is no justification for contemplating a temporary or permanent lock closure and a shutdown of waterways commerce in the region.
AWO President & CEO Thomas A. Allegretti said, “The results of this failed attempt, along with extensive fishing in the area since November to find a live Asian carp near Lake Michigan, certainly suggest that the confidence the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has in the effectiveness of the electric barriers is well placed. When the planned third electric barrier comes on line, it will only reinforce the protection of our precious Great Lakes.”
Allegretti continued, “AWO supports nine courses of action identified by the federal government’s Asian Carp Framework as possible solutions to deter the Asian carp. Closing locks and shutting down vital commerce is not a solution, especially when invasive species like the Asian carp have other avenues of access. Rather, it is a knee-jerk reaction that we can ill afford at a time when jobs are in great demand. Lock closures would do more harm than good.”