Asian Carp Very Close to Lake Michigan

January 15, 2015

Alliance for the Great Lakes • Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition • Milwaukee Riverkeeper
Natural Resources Defense Council • National Wildlife Federation • Ohio Environmental Council
Prairie Rivers Network • Save The River-Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper • Sierra Club-Illinois Chapter
New Data Show Multiple Asian Carp eDNA Hits Just Yards from Lake Michigan
(Wednesday, January 14, 2015) Chicago, IL – Asian carp continue to knock on the door of the
Great Lakes, based on eDNA sampling results released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. The sampling data, collected in October, show the presence of bighead or silver carp
DNA throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). Most alarming is detection of
carp DNA very near the lock in downtown Chicago — less than one city block from Lake
In the face of this threat, last winter the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Great LakesMississippi
River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) with no clear recommendation for next steps to
prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from moving between the Great Lakes
and Mississippi River. The GLMRIS report does, however, identify restoring the natural divide
between the two waterways as the one long-term solution effective in preventing the
movement of aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
The report identified 13 invasive species at significant risk of moving between the waterways.
Despite this finding, agencies and elected officials have yet to commit to this solution.
A committee of key, diverse regional stakeholders known as the “Chicago Area Waterway
System Advisory Committee” has been formed with a goal to reach consensus on a set of
recommendations to elected and appointed local, state and federal officials and the public on
short-and long-term measures to prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from
moving between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins through the CAWS. The Advisory
Committee is working toward a deadline of Dec. 15, 2015, with interim work products as
In the shorter term, the people of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins need quick
action to reduce the risk of invasive species moving between these two great waters. While no
substitute for a permanent solution to the problem, immediate risk-reduction steps can be
taken, including:
• Design of a new engineered channel to be constructed in the approach to the Brandon
Road lock, a potentially effective location for reducing one-way movement of species
towards the Great Lakes;
• Evaluation, engineering, and design of control technologies to deploy in the approach
channel and the Brandon Road lock structure; and
• Research to further evaluate reconfiguring locks as a means to control aquatic invasive
species while maintaining the health of native aquatic life and habitat.


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