By Mary Muter,
Chair, Great Lakes Section, Sierra Club Canada Foundation
The US Army Corps of Engineers recently released a report on options to prevent the very invasive Asian Carp from getting into not just the Great Lakes but also into all waterways and lakes connected to the Great Lakes.
To find out if you want these fish in our lakes and rivers watch this video
The US Army Corps of Engineers were in Toronto yesterday to brief Canadian agencies and a few invited observers on the options to prevent these fish from getting into the Great Lakes at Chicago. I was at that meeting and I left with significant concern that not enough is being done. The fish escaped into the Mississippi River in the 1990’s and are now only 50 miles south of Chicago. The Army has electric barriers at Chicago but last summer they took underwater videos and found schools of 4-inch-long fish swimming right through their multi-million dollar electric barriers. And last summer in an attempt to control the spread they paid commercial fishers to remove 50,000 Asian Carp that were in parts of the river more than 50 miles south of the electric barriers.
Chicago connected a river that drained into the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan over 100 years ago and to this day discharges 400 to 500 million gallons-per-day of only primary treated sewage and stormwater into this diversion – the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. This sends all their barely treated sewage water south to the Mississippi River. Most of the other major Great Lakes cities treat to a higher level and discharge to the Great Lakes. But Chicago doesn’t want to pollute their waterfront so it is sight unseen as the waste is sent through large screening only and sent south. The Chicago area locks that are opened regularly to the five connections to Lake Michigan are open pathways for these harmful fish.
The risk these fish pose to Canadian waters has been rated high by our Department of Fisheries and Oceans. But that risk is not being considered adequately by the US Army Corps.
Please let Americans know that we want rapid action to physically separate the connections to the Great Lakes at Chicago. The costs of this invading fish are too high and the status quo is not acceptable. You can make a difference by submitting comments until Monday March 31 at 6pm by clicking on this link