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Feds to meet public about Asian carp

IF YOU GO

When: 2 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12

Where: Northwest Indiana Forum, 6100 Southport Road, Portage

Webcast: www.mymeetings.com/tetratech/join/

Conference number: PG2501850; Passcode: ASIAN CARP

Listen: Call (888) 603-8914 to listen to the conference.

Updated: February 10, 2012 8:24AM



Federal officials will outline efforts to prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes at a Thursday meeting in Portage.

The meeting will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Northwest Indiana Forum, located at 6100 Southport Road. John Goss, Asian carp cirector of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will head the forum, and members of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee will update actions under way, such as monitoring, barrier construction, harvesting, enforcement, outreach, and research and development of long-term biological controls.

The event will offer an opportunity for the public to comment and provide feedback on ACRCC efforts.

Asian carp have moved up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and have infested Chicago-area waterways that lead to Lake Michigan. A 20-pound Asian carp was found in Lake Calumet on the south side of Chicago six miles from Lake Michigan in June 2010, and it was the first time a live carp had been found above the electric barriers intended to keep them out.

In 2010, researchers found no genetic traces of the Asian carp in Northwest Indiana waters. The study took samples Indiana Harbor, the Gary Boat Slip, Burns Harbor, Burns Ditch, Lake George and Deep River.

Indiana officials have found spawning Asian carp in the Wabash River near Lafayette, but the fish has been in Indiana waters since the mid-1990s.

Midwest officials are afraid that the carp, which feed on the plankton that form the base of the aquatic food chain, could crowd out competitors and severely damage — if not wipe out — the Great Lakes fishing industry.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying how best to limit ties between the lakes and the Mississippi River to prevent invasive species such as Asian carp from migrating between them. It’s scheduled for completion in summer of 2015.

Natural Resources Defense Council Josh Mogerman said the Asian carp issue is one that the group has been watching closely.

“The Corps have been very deliberate to this point,” Mogerman said. “Unfortunately, they’re moving slower than many in the Great Lakes community are comfortable with. The concern is that they’re taking until 2015 to study what the solution could be, then add whatever time it takes to implement those solutions, and it could be too late.”

Mogerman said any solution should look beyond simply the Asian carp since the Great Lakes have at least 180 invasive species. In fact, the electric barrier in the south Chicago suburbs was initially built to keep the round goby fish from accessing the Mississippi River basin.

“But they didn’t get barrier in place to stop round goby in time,” Mogerman said.



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