$78 million carp control plan floated

Feb. 8, 2010 at 6:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. officials unveiled a $78 million effort to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

The Detroit Free Press said the plan includes intermittent closures of locks along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which connects the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. The closures could begin by the end of April and keep the locks closed three weeks per month, officials said.

At a Washington meeting Monday, Obama administration officials and Midwestern governors such as Michigan's Jennifer Granholm and Wisconsin's Jim Doyle discussed ways to keep the voracious invasive species out of the lakes.

Federal officials plan to create electric barriers and expand crews to search for carp using sonar observation, electro-shock and netting, the Detroit News said, and DNA sampling will be increased.

Asian carp are insatiable feeders that can grow to more than 100 pounds and some fear they could destroy the Great Lakes fishery.

Granholm said intermittent lock closures are not enough, adding, "I think there's enough (Asian carp) DNA evidence now to shut them down."

Illinois lawmakers say the ship canal is a vital transportation link and needs to be kept open. A lawsuit brought by the state of Michigan seeking the locks' closure has so far been unsuccessful.

U.S. House lawmakers were set to debate proposed legislation Tuesday during a meeting of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, while on Wednesday, attorneys general for Great Lakes states were to meet with U.S. Department of Justice officials on the carp issue, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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