Governor Mark Dayton has called a summit meeting for Monday on how to stop the Asian Carp with a list of invitees that includes everyone from Sen. Amy Klobuchar to the Army Corps of Engineers to the Canadian Consulate.
Dayton is trying to solve the basic problem of Asian Carp -- everyone and no one is in charge. The carp are making their way north up the Mississippi. While an enormous amount of national attention is focused on how to stop them from entering the Great Lakes from the Illinois through a canal in Chicago, no one is thinking about Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources would like to change that. The meeting is designed to tell the state's Congressional Delegation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and numerous federal agencies what the state's plans are to deal with the carp before it's too late. In short, it's designed to try and devise a coordinated plan of attack.
The carp are not here yet. All four species of carp are abundant in the Mississippi in Missouri, but not yet in Iowa or Minnesota. But individual fish are found from time to time, and recent DNA testing has shown that at least some are likely present in the St. Croix.
At this point there are few options. The DNR is considering a $7 million sonic bubbler that would steer carp away from the St. Croix, but it's unproven technology on such a wide expanse of river. The Minnesota legislature approved money to re-build the Coon Rapids Dam, which would also be an imperfect barrier.
The most effective solution is also the most problematic -- closing one of the lock and dams in the Mississippi. But that, as the Army Corps of Engineers has said repeatedly, requires an act of congress.
Which may be why Dayton is calling the carp summit.
Next week the DNR also plans to launch another round of DNA testing in the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers. The water levels are lower now, which would provide more accurate results. And they also plan to test above the dam at St. Croix Falls and below the Coon Rapids Dam.
Below are maps that show where the fish are now, courtesy of the National Park Service.
Big Head Carp