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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Asian Carp: The Stuff of River Rat Nightmares

Action Needed: Contact your federal Representative, Senators and the Army
Corps immediately - read on for more information and how to get involved.

Oh, how this river rat wishes this was just a spooky Halloween tale! One good rain event and Asian carp could get into our Great Lakes and Wisconsin’s rivers, if action is not taken immediately to stop them.

Why should you care?
These bad boys are quite frankly the guests from hell. They're big, agressive and destructive. Sometimes weighing as much as 100 pounds, they are voracious predators, chomping down on everything in sight, muscling out smaller, less assertive native fish, and altering native habitat. They've also developed an espcially nasty party trick: when startled, silver and bighead carp leap straight out of the water into the air, often landing in boats, rattling boaters, even knocking teeth and jaws loose on occasion.

Currently, an electric barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) is all that prevents the fish from spreading into the Great Lakes. Recently discovered just a mile from the barrier, the carp have also been found in waterways less than 100 feet from the canal, and could bypass the barrier completely if a heavy rain causes the Des Plaines River to flood. A barrier, by the way, that has been installed with many, many of your pretty pennies that I would hate to see go to waste.

There are three emergency actions that Army Corp of Engineers can take this fall to further prevent Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes. ACE should ensure that:
  1. An emergency physical barrier (like sandbags) be built between the Des Plaines and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to ensure the Des Plaines River and live carp cannot flood into the CSSC past the electrical barrier.

  2. An additional barrier (such as a bubble/acoustic barrier) is installed to stop the carp from migrating upstream into the Des Plaines River.

  3. Critical sections of the I&M Canal be filled in, so that carp cannot swim into the CSSC during floods.
What should you do? Make your voice heard to elected officials!

First, follow this link to learn more about this threat and the emergency actions that should be taken.

Next, reach out and touch someone: namely your elected officials and the Army Corps of Engineers. Give them a call, write them a letter, email them - whatever works for you, just let them know you care about this and want action.

Ask your member of Congress and two Senators to tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take the immediate emergency actions above to stop Asian carp from getting into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal during a flood.

Contacting your US Representative and Senators:
Find your representative online here and your senators here
Call 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative's and Senators' offices.

Contacting the Army Corps of Engineers:
Contact Ms. Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works).
Tell her that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must take immediate emergency action to ensure Asian carp cannot get into the Great Lakes during a flood. Assistant Secretary Darcy can be reached at (703) 697-8986 or by writing 108 Army Pentagon, Room 3E446, Washington, DC 20310-0108.

posted by the River Rat

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