Since the announcement that the non-native Asian carp had breached an electric fence and were miles within Lake Michigan, advocates have called for a more effective, urgent and transparent response from the federal government. In recent months, there has been a call for a go-to person in the federal government who can coordinate efforts – and crack the whip when needed – to halt the advance of the fish.
Yesterday the Obama Administration appointed John Goss as new Asian carp director. Goss, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation and former director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, will oversee and coordinate plans to deal with the Asian Carp crisis.
“With a strong background focused on natural resources, John will be an excellent addition to our team as we continue to combat the spread of Asian carp,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. Goss will report directly to Sutley.
Goss is a great pick for the post that will require someone to coordinate the government agencies to initiate a more efficient response. In his new role, Goss will chair the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee – a team of federal, state and local agencies working on the carp threat. His job will be to implement the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework.
Conservation widely hailed the announcement. A joint statement from groups—including the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Environment Illinois, Freshwater Future, Great Lakes United, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Prairie Rivers Network, and Sierra Club—read:
“We need stronger federal leadership and more immediate and effective action if we are going to prevent Asian carp from establishing a breeding population in the Great Lakes. John Goss has had a distinguished career as a true public servant. We look forward to working with him to increase the pace at which federal and state agencies undertake the short-term actions necessary to stop Asian carp while keeping everyone – particularly the Army Corps of Engineers – focused on identifying the permanent solution that improves the outmoded infrastructure of the Chicago Waterway System and permanently prevents the travel of invasive species between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
“We trust and expect that the Asian Carp Director will be able to use the authority of the White House to move the Army Corps and other agencies as quickly as possible to develop a solution that will stop invasive species transfers and invest in new, more sustainable water and transportation infrastructure that will benefit the economies of Chicago, the Great Lakes region, and the entire nation.”