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Range of strategies eyed at 'carp summit'

Jan. 27, 2010 at 6:32 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A range of strategies to keep Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan were discussed at a Washington "carp summit" Wednesday, participants say.

U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said some of the strategies discussed at the meeting, co-hosted by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., included air-bubble, acoustic and electrical barriers as well as temporarily closing locks on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, through which environmentalists fear the voracious invasive species may infest the Great Lakes.

"Several ideas and bipartisan solutions were discussed to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes," Hoekstra said. "There is no single arrow in the quiver. Solutions will need to be based upon managerial, chemical, engineering and structural components."

Hoekstra said wider application of fish poisoning, harvesting techniques, monitoring improvements and eco-separation were also discussed.

Another summit co-host, Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., told the Joliet Herald News she "came away from the meeting with a good feeling."

The gathering was attended by several U.S. senators and House representatives along with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Biggert told the newspaper it was important not to close the canal, saying 7 million tons of cargo passed through its locks in 2008 and contending a lawsuit filed by the state of Michigan seeking its closure is self-defeating.

"I think all of the states need to look at the numbers and see how many businesses rely on shipments that use the waterways from here to Louisiana and back," Biggert said. "Closing the waterways would ... have a negative impact on the economy of other states."

Durbin and Biggert have worked together for years to secure funding for containment projects, the lawmakers said.

Last fall, DNA from Asian carp, which have relentlessly made their way north along waterways in recent years since escaping fish farms in the South, was found during regular canal water testing, Durbin said. Genetic material also has been found in the Calumet River near Wilmette, Ill., and in Lake Michigan.

Topics: Dick Durbin
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