Dayton to convene carp summit on Monday

With Monday's meeting, the governor wants to underscore the urgency and coordinate the effort in fending off the invasive fish.

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Silver carp jump out of the Illinois River.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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Gov. Mark Dayton has called a meeting for Monday on the Asian carp, with an invitation list that stretches from Sen. Amy Klobuchar to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Canadian Consulate.

Dayton is trying to solve a basic obstacle to stopping the disruptive invasive species: Everyone and no one is in charge.

The meeting is designed to tell the state's congressional delegation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and numerous federal agencies about Minnesota's plans to deal with the carp before it's too late.

The carp are making their way up the Mississippi River from Missouri. While an enormous effort is focused on keeping them from entering the Great Lakes from the Illinois River through a canal in Chicago, no one has figured out how to protect Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The carp are not in Minnesota yet -- in quantity -- 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 River.

The DNR plans to launch another round of DNA testing next week in the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers. The water levels are lower now than when the last tests were conducted, which would provide more accurate results. They also plan to test above the dam at St. Croix Falls and below the Coon Rapids dam.

At this point, there are few options for stopping the carp's progress. The DNR is considering a $7 million sonic bubbler intended to steer carp away from the St. Croix, but it's unproven technology on such a wide expanse of river. The Legislature approved money to rebuild the Coon Rapids dam, which also would 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.

Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394

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