It's time to close the lock at the Ford Dam and keep the carp out, said a coalition of Minnesota conservation groups at a telephone press conference today. When the Mississippi River lock and dams close Dec. 5, as they always do come winter, the one at the Ford dam should stay closed after ice- out until the state and the federal governments adopt some kind of prevention strategy to slow the spread of the odious Asian carp.
The coalition will present their plan at Governor Mark Dayton's' next carp summit on Dec. 20. It calls for short-term priorities to be enacted this winter, mid-term priorities to be completed over the next six to 18 months, and long term priorities for over 18 months.
The short term plan might include limited hours of the lock with some kind of bubble and or sound barrier that would deter the invaders.
Lock at the Ford Dam. Star Tribune photo.
But closing the lock is up to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and officials from that agency have repeatedly said that it needs permission from Congress to close any lock and dam, even those with as little commercial traffic as the ones in Minneapolis. Governor Dayton
The pressure on state and federal officials is building since the Department of Natural Resources announced last week that it had found DNA from the silver carp above the Coon Rapids Dam. They didn't find any fish, but it put the fear of carp into everyone involved. No one thought the fish could get above the dam.
The DNR has also found DNA from carp in the St. Croix River, and it is expecting the results from other testing in the coming weeks.
The conservation groups linking arms on this are: Anglers for Habitat, Audubon Minnesota – National Audubon Society, Clean Water Action, F-M Walleyes Unlimited, Fish and Wildlife Alliance, Friends of the Mississippi River, Izaak Walton League of Minnesota, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Seasonal Recreation Property Owners, Mississippi River Fund, National Parks and Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen, St. Croix River Association, and Minnesota Trout Unlimited.