MILWAUKEE, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A poll reveals Wisconsin voters agree that Asian carp, a voracious invasive species of fish, are bad for the Great Lakes, a polling group spokeswoman said.
The survey, done for a coalition of environmental groups, indicates 80 percent of Wisconsin voters are familiar with the large fish and most support the erection of a barrier on the Chicago canal system to prevent their invasion of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday.
The report also said 75 percent of state voters, including 63 percent of registered Republicans and 84 percent of registered Democrats, support the federal government's ongoing Great Lakes restoration plan.
"This poll shows that standing up to protect the Great Lakes and taking action to beat back Asian carp invasion are winning issues among this critical constituency," said pollster Emma White, an adviser to the lobbying group Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
A $20 billion plan was proposed during the George W. Bush administration but never funded. A more modest 10-year, $5 billion Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was begun during the Obama administration, and has spent more than $1 billion on clean up, shoreline preservation and blocking invasive species in the Great Lakes, the newspaper noted.
Asian carp have been migrating north since they were imported by an Arkansas fish farmer decades ago. They were later used as filter-feeders in federally financed sewage treatment experiments, and several escaped into the wild.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it has been studying what will be required to build a permanent barrier to protect the lakes.
The survey of 801 Wisconsin voters was conducted Sept. 12-14 and was commissioned by Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, and had a 3.46 percentage point margin of error.