As you may know, the Great Lakes are threatened by the spread of the invasive Asian carp, an extremely large fish that is so aggressive and reproduces so rapidly that it could devastate our fish populations. These fish can weigh up to 100 pounds and grow to up to four feet in length. They were accidentally released into the Mississippi River system in the 1990s and have been steadily moving upstream.
Today, I introduced the CARP ACT in the U.S. Senate. This bill directs the Army Corps of Engineers to construct additional barriers and immediately close the locks between the Chicago waterway and Lake Michigan to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. Congressman Dave Camp (R-Michigan) has also introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Yesterday, scientists announced that carp DNA has been detected above the electrical barrier that was placed in the locks to prevent the carp from entering the Great Lakes. While finding the DNA is not conclusive proof that carp have actually crossed the barrier, it is urgent that we respond quickly to keep them from crossing into the Great Lakes. These fish pose a grave risk to our state, especially Michigan's $7 billion boating and fishing industry.
I have been working to ensure that federal and state experts have all the tools they need to protect the Great Lakes from the Asian carp, and so far, the efforts have been very successful. However, the recent announcements by scientists are a troubling development that requires an urgent response. Therefore, the bills that Congressman Camp and I introduced call for immediate action to:
Immediately close the barriers and locks into the Great Lakes
Expedite the installation of interim barriers in rivers where no barriers currently exist
Enhance existing barriers and monitoring systems to prevent fish from crossing into the Great Lakes
Grant full authority to the Army Corps of Engineers to eradicate the Asian carp and prevent them from entering the Great Lakes.
As your Senator, I will continue to work to protect our Great Lakes, which are critical to our state's livelihood. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to you or your family.
United States Senator