As the debate over how best to stop the advance of the Asian carp has evolved over the past six months, so have the meanings of an ecological and a hydrological separation. The resulting confusion affects the debate over the best long-term solution to the northward migration of the invasive fish.
The quick and dirty definition of hydrologic separation is a physical severance of the water between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. The words ecological separation represent no movement of live organisms between the Great lakes and the Mississippi River basins via the canals. Those stakeholders who would like to use mechanisms such as electronic and bubble barriers have adopted the term ecological separation to describe their concept. But we believe that you can’t reach our ecological goals – ecological separation – without completely physically separating the basins. That is why we are now going to refer to our long-term goal of total severance as hydrologic separation. Phew, confusing, eh?