Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are among a coalition of U.S. senators are pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to speed up plans to halt the spread of Asian carp.
Eleven senators representing six of the eight states abutting the Great Lakes recently sent a letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, asking a series of questions about the Corps' plan of action.
In the letter, they urged the Corps to not only put in place short-term measures to stop Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes, but to “move aggressively toward a long-term solution” to keep the invasive species out.
Senators from Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and New York signed the letter.
If Asian carp begin breeding in the state’s lakes and rivers, it could cause irreparable harm to the state’s tourism, fishing and boating industries, Franken and Klobuchar said.
The Corps issued a report in January with eight options for blocking the invasive carp’s path to Lake Michigan, but says Congress and regional stakeholders must decide the final plan.
At present, the Corps maintains operates navigational locks in the waterways and an electric fish barrier in a shipping canal near Chicago to block migration.
The House and Senate already have passed legislation that would close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in Minneapolis in an effort to protect Minnesota’s northern waters from Asian carp, which crowds out native species. The bill is being considered in conference committee.