Coalition Supports Carp Barrier Authorization in Bill Passed by U.S. Senate

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (Sept. 25)—The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition today praised the U.S. Senate for authorizing key Great Lakes programs–including an electric barrier to keep out non-native Asian carp from the lakes–in a bill passed last night.

“We applaud the U.S. Senate for authorizing programs that are essential to restoring the Great Lakes and protecting our economy and way of life,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “This bill needs to be signed into law. We urge President Bush to follow through on his commitment to restore the Great Lakes, because the longer we wait, the problems get worse and the solutions more costly.”

The Water Resources Development Act passed the Senate Monday night. It authorizes several programs to restore the Great Lakes, including the construction of an electric barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to keep the non-native Asian carp from entering the lakes. Carp threaten the safety of boaters and the region’s multi-billion-dollar fishery.

“Asian carp present a danger to people’s health, the region’s economy, and recreational opportunities enjoyed by millions,” said Skelding. “The electric barrier authorized by this legislation offers a manageable solution to an urgent problem. We’ve waited long enough.  It’s time for President Bush to sign this legislation into law, as delay will only exacerbate the problems and cost citizens and businesses more money.”

In addition to the Asian carp barrier, the comprehensive water projects bill authorizes Great Lakes programs that support:

• Restoration of habitat and fishery through the Great Lakes Fishery & Ecosystem Restoration Act;
• Clean-up of toxic harbors through the Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans;
• Reduction of soil erosion and non-point source pollution through the Great Lakes Tributary Model Program; and,
• Removal of dams to restore habitat through the Aquatic Ecosystem and Estuary Restoration Program.

The Water Resources Development Act authorizes navigation and ecosystem restoration projects across the nation. The act was last authorized in 2000.

Several of the Great Lakes restoration programs in the bill are a part of a comprehensive plan to restore the lakes, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. That strategy has been translated into federal legislation, the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act of 2007, which awaits passage in Congress.

“Our lakes are in serious trouble and need help to address problems such as invasive species and sewage contamination,” said Skelding. “We have solutions to these problems. It is now time to use them. It’s time for Congress to pass the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act to protect our lakes, our public health, our economy, and our way of life.”

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The Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives Campaign is directed by the Healing Our Waters®-Great Lakes Coalition. The coalition consists of more than 90 zoos, aquariums, museums, and hunting, fishing, and environmental organizations representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

For Immediate Release:
September 25, 2007

Jordan Lubetkin, Healing Our Waters-Great Lake Coalition, (734) 887-7109;
Jeff Skelding, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (202) 797-6893;

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