As invasive fish spread, environmental groups urge quick U.S. action

Aug. 20, 2013 at 3:29 PM
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CHICAGO, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Environmental groups in Illinois have called for federal aid in controlling Asian carp after state resource officials found the fish had moved farther upstream.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources found in June carp were spawning within 25 miles of an electric barrier on a ship canal that connects to Lake Michigan.

In a statement, Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said, "The fish are beating a quick path to the Great Lakes, and we need federal efforts to keep pace with the threat," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday.

Eight groups reiterated their call for a permanent solution to separate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River, where the bighead and silver carp began their spread.

The fish eat huge quantities of plankton, threatening the survival of indigenous fish in the Great Lakes.

The Obama administration last month revealed its latest efforts to control the carp, which include upgrading an electronic barrier in Illinois and a project in Indiana that would create a buffer between the river basin and the lakes.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on various strategies is expected to be completed in December.

Chris McCloud, a spokesman for the Illinois DNR, downplayed the report's findings.

He said the carp's spread was likely due to record levels of flooding. McCloud added several government agencies had not found signs of successful spawning.

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