Despite a historic snowfall in the Nation’s Capitol, the White House met with Great Lakes Governors and unveiled both short term and long-term strategies to deal with the Asian Carp. They did not call for the locks to be closed permanently but they did call for a reduced number of lock openings by early March 2010.
EPA has helped to develop this coordinated strategy on such an urgent issue and assisted in building a coalition to act to keep Asian carp from becoming established in the Great Lakes,” stated EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in press release. “The combined resources and expertise of the interagency partnership are our best tools for protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy.”
In the short term, the Framework Document calls for an increase and enlargement of field crews for physical and sonar observations, and electric shocking and netting programs. They are going to collect 120 samples of eDNA each week (this doubles the current rate) and verification will be made much quicker. Also, starting in March, a $13 million contract is going to be awarded to construct barriers between the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Des Plaines River to stop the fish from passing around the electric barrier during flooding.
Another $10 million will be set aside for the construction and operation of a third electronic barrier. The Framework document released by the White House forces the US Army Corps of Engineers’ to expedite their feasibility study on the impacts of a permanent lock closure.
As for long term efforts, the Feds are putting funds into commercial market enhancement for chemical treatments in case of barrier failure, $5 million for additional chemical treatments in case the barriers fail and $1.5 million for research into additional tools, biological controls such as Asian carp specific poisons, population control, sonic barriers and assessment of potential habitats.