The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development is beefing up funds for the electronic fence in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal while giving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leeway to take emergency steps to stop the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes from any of the connections or tributaries between the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins.
Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) are praising the action of the committee.
“The appropriators clearly understand the urgent threat of Asian carp, and I am grateful to them for heeding our calls to include these key measures to help stop them from entering the Great Lakes,” Sen. Levin said, adding: “These two critical measures will be significant tools in the fight against Asian carp.”
The subcommittee added $5.9 million to the President Obama’s request for the electronic fence, bringing funding up to $18.5 million. The subcommittee also expanded the Corps authority from just the Chicago waterway system to cover the tributaries, connections and the flood zone between the Wabash River and the Maumee River in Indiana – both have become critical in the fight to keep the carp out of Lake Erie where they are expected to thrive in the warm, shallow waters.
Levin and Voinovich, co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, along with six other senators called for the expanded authority last week, following revelations of the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes Basin via the Wabash River in Indiana.
“If these aquatic menaces get into the Lakes, they will destroy a $7 billion fishery and harm the Great Lakes ecosystem. My colleagues understand how hard I have worked on this issue, and I appreciate their support when it comes to protecting the Great Lakes, a national treasure,” said Sen. Voinovich.
We are grateful that in these tough times the Senate has seen the import of protecting the Great Lakes, especially because a colony of Asian carp in our Great Lakes would devastate the region’s economy. Now, the bill will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a vote.