Officials renew their demand to shut down two shipping locks on the Chicago waterway

<CITE class=vcard>By SERENA DAI and JOHN FLESHER, Associated Press Writers Serena Dai And John Flesher, Associated Press Writers </CITE>– <ABBR class=timedate title=2010-06-23T17:41:35-0700>Wed Jun 23, 8:41 pm ET</ABBR>
<!-- end .byline -->CHICAGO – An [COLOR=#366388 !important][FONT=arial]Asian carp[/FONT][/COLOR] was found for the first time beyond electric barriers meant to keep the voracious invasive species out of the Great Lakes, state and federal officials said Wednesday, prompting renewed calls for swift action to block their advance.
[COLOR=#366388 !important][FONT=arial]Commercial fishermen[/FONT][/COLOR] landed the 3-foot-long, 20-pound bighead carp in Lake Calumet on Chicago’s South Side, about six miles from Lake Michigan, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
Officials said they need more information to determine the significance of the find.
“The threat to the Great Lakes depends on how many have access to the lakes, which depends on how many are in the Chicago waterway right now,” said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois [COLOR=#366388 !important][FONT=arial]Department of Natural Resources[/FONT][/COLOR].
But environmental groups said the discovery leaves no doubt that other Asian carp have breached barriers designed to prevent them from migrating from the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes and proves the government needs to act faster.
“If the capture of this live fish doesn’t confirm the urgency of this problem, nothing will,” said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office.
Scientists and fishermen fear that if the carp become established in the lakes, they could starve out popular sport species and ruin the region’s $7 billion [COLOR=#366388 !important][FONT=arial]fishing industry[/FONT][/COLOR]. Asian Carp can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds and eat up to 40 percent of their body weight daily.
Rogner, from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, estimated that the male carp was about 3 to 4 years old. It was caught live but has since been killed and will be sent to the University of Illinois to determine if it was artificially raised or naturally bred.
The fish was sexually mature, but Lake Calumet’s conditions aren’t conducive to reproduction because the water is too still, Rogner said. Even so, the lake is the ideal living environment for the fish because it’s quiet and near a [COLOR=#366388 !important][FONT=arial]river system[/FONT][/COLOR], he added.
“It fits the model to a T,” he said. "They may be concentrated in that area."
Officials said they’ll use electrofishing and netting to remove any Asian carp from the lake.
They have been migrating up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers toward the Great Lakes for decades.
There are no natural connections between the lakes and the Mississippi basin. More than a century ago, engineers linked them with a network of canals and existing rivers to reverse the flow of the Chicago River and keep waste from flowing into Lake Michigan, which Chicago uses for drinking water.
Two electric barriers, which emit pulses to scare the carp away or give a jolt if they proceed, are a last line of defense. The Army corps plans to complete another one this year.
“Is it disturbing? Extraordinarily. Is it surprising? No,” Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said of the carp’s discovery beyond the barriers.
He said the capture highlights the need to permanently sever the link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. The Army Corps is studying alternatives, but says the analysis will take years.
“Invaders will stop at nothing short of bricks and mortar, and time is running short to get that protection in place,” Brammeier said.

In Michigan, officials renewed their demand to shut down two shipping locks on the Chicago waterways that could provide a path to Lake Michigan. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected the state’s request to order the locks closed, but state Attorney General Mike Cox said he was considering more legal action.
“Responsibility for this potential economic and ecological disaster rests solely with President Obama,” Cox said. "He must take action immediately by ordering the locks closed and producing an emergency plan to stop Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan."
A Chicago-based industry coalition called Unlock Our Jobs said the discovery of a single carp did not justify closing the locks. Doing so would damage the region’s economy and kill jobs without guaranteeing that carp would be unable to reach the lakes, spokesman Mark Biel said. “A few isolated incidents of Asian carp in this small section of the Illinois Waterway does not mean existing barriers have failed,” said Biel, also executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois. “Additional regulatory controls and river barriers should be explored before permanent lock closure is even considered.”

[B][COLOR=white][FONT=Arial][B]DATE: June 23, 2010 15:46:48 CST [/B][/COLOR][/FONT][/B]

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[B][FONT=Arial][B]PHOTO: Bighead Asian Carp Found in Chicago Area Waterway System[/B][/FONT][/B]

CLEVELAND – The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) announced today that one Bighead Asian carp has been found in Lake Calumet along the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). This is the first physical specimen that has been found in the CAWS above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Electric Barrier System.
[SIZE=3]CLICK HERE[/SIZE] for the full release from the RCC.

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CLEVELAND – A fisheries Biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources holds a Bighead carp caught in Lake Calumet. The fish was caught during routine sampling efforts by the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee on June 22, 2010.
Courtesy: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Click photo to obtain high-resolution version.

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They are running tests to determine if this fish was actually caught in Lake Calumet. It may have been planted because there are other interests that could profit greatly by being contracted to hunt down and destroy these carp even if there are none.

We have seen a lot of dead carp after the last high water. Some get killed going through the lock piping. Some get killed by the boat props. But of all the dead fish we have seen we have not seen one asian. carp.

Last fall they killed thousands of pounds of fish and only found one asian carp south of the fish barrier.

This last spring they conducted another kill from O’brian on down to Lockport and killed several thousand pounds more fish but not one asian carp was found out of all those thousands of pounds of different types of fish.

And out of all the fisherman like this guy that have been contracted to drive around and shock small sections of the water this guy is the only one to catch one.

I wanna see the study on what kind of food and this thing had in its guts and whether the level of contaminants in its blood were consistant with native fish in the area.

Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.

Well the picture didn’t come out but I am sure you can see it on the net. It shows the subcontracted fisherman holding a big asian carp.

This guy could have stopped south of starved rock and put an asain carp in his livewell. Then he could have kept it alive long enough to claim he caught it in Lake Cal. There are just not a lot of fish in Cal Harbor. There is not much environment for them.

These carp would be all over the des plains and the I and M canal if they were in sufficent numbers to grow this size carp.

You start pullin up little ones before you start pullin up the monsters. They don’t just grow to 35 pounds overnight.

if this carp is native then the battle is already lost. if they made it to lake cal they made it to all the other tributaries that feed into and out of Lake Michigan. All of the creeks that I used to fish as a kid are now prime breeding grounds for asian carp instead of salmon and lake trout. If this sized fish were really found in lake cal it is far too late to close the locks. That would be a moot point. If they are truley free in Lake Michigan it is too late.
Are we going to fish kill the whole of Lake Michigan to controll the spread?

window of opportunity to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes is closing fast. Not only was a 3-foot carp found in Illinois beyond the electric barriers intended to keep them out of Lake Michigan, but according to the Dayton Daily News, they are also moving up the Wabash and Ohio rivers where a flood could lead to the carp eventually making it into Lake Erie.

Asian carp are like giant vacuum cleaners, devouring the food that other fish rely on for survival and threatening the commercial and recreational fishing industries in the Great Lakes. The invasive species pose not only an economic threat, but a serious ecological threat as well since they could obliterate native fish populations.

America is already contending with a catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the last thing we need is another ecological disaster on our hands.
[I]Become a fan of Mike Thompson on Facebook and follow his updates on Twitter.[/I]

[I]guess we got wall of the wabash and the ohio rivers now too.[/I]

Where did that darn carp come from? Dale DuPont
July 26, 2010
The Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative will spend $2 million and 18 months studying the best way to separate the Mississippi River basin from the Great Lakes in the Chicago area to keep out Asian carp. The invasive fish has been the subject of court battles among Great Lakes states, legislative initiatives and congressional hearings.
Closing the connection between the two watersheds, which was created in 1900, has been a rallying cry for many who cite potential damage to the lakes’ fishing and tourism industries.
But navigation, too, is at risk. The O’Brien Lock and Dam in Chicago was closed for about a week in May when more than 100,000 lbs. of fish were killed. Not one was an Asian carp. The closing was a costly disruption to barge and other water traffic.
About a month later, routine sampling in Lake Calumet turned up a single carp — the first specimen found in the Chicago waterway system above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ electric barriers. The six-year-old, 20-lb. fish was found about six miles downstream from Lake Michigan.
The source of the carp has not been determined, but it’s certainly critical to the debate. At a recent Senate subcommittee hearing, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D.-Mich., asked how the fish got into Lake Calumet.
“There’s a general belief that it’s hard for a fish that large to bypass the barriers,” Nancy Sutley with the White House Council on Environmental Quality said at the hearing. “So there may be other ways, such as introduction either accidentally or on purpose, that it might have gotten in there.”
They then deferred to Leon Carl, Midwest Area Regional Executive, U.S. Geological Survey, whom Stabenow asked about the effectiveness of the electric barriers and the Calumet carp. “It’s unlikely that it swam through the fish barrier to get there,” Carl said.
How about waiting ‘til there’s more known about the fish’s origin before rushing to judgment about the locks?

Maybe it got in through the wabash river

I don’t know the whole thing smells a little fishy (pardon the pun) to me.

That fish was planted so those commercial fisherman could get contracts to “clean the asain carp out of chicago”