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1st Friday Focus on the Environment: Great Lakes Growing Threat - Asian Carp

kate.gardiner / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

This month on 89.1 WEMU's First Friday Focus on the Environment, we we will explore  a growing threat in the region - Asian Carp. We look into its growing threat of expanding territories to the world's greatest freshwater resource, the Great Lakes.

The Executive Director of the Great Lakes Commission, Tim Eder joins us to talk about the issue and what can be done to establish a long-term solution.


What’s the latest on Asian carp in the Great Lakes? 

They are reproducing in ways never thought possible. Originally, fish experts believed Asian carp had to be in waterways with currents, and of a certain size, to successfully procreate. Once again, carp are bucking the odds. Asian carp are multiplying in smaller streams, upping the number of waterways at risk for exponential population growth should they show up here. Don’t count on any birth announcements in the mail, carp babies are not something to celebrate, they won’t stay small for long and the pose big threats to the health of our fisheries and freshwater. More information here.

What are we doing now to stop Asian carp from swimming into the Great Lakes? 

In Chicago, electric fences are one line of defense to block carp from entering Great Lakes waterways. Luckily, carp do not need to be wearing a collar to be reined in. However, if the power ever goes out, carp can call jailbreak and make a run for freshwater. More on that dangerous scenario on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s blog.

Popular science lays out the top five ways to stop Asian carp, and its clear number five (blocking them...permanently) is the most foolproof solution. 

This summer, the Obama Administration announced a $50-million Asian carp management plan that invests in all kinds of tricks such as nets, water guns, even potions of pheromones to steer carp clear of the Great Lakes. But, the only tactic without a margin of error is complete separation of the Great Lakes from carp-infested waters. More on Michigan LCV’s take on that plan here.

Is anyone taking on a public education campaign about Asian carp in the Great Lakes?

Just last week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) unveiled new videos to help Michiganders identify various species of Asian carp. It’s like our new statewide “Where’s Waldo?” game, and we hope everybody is playing.

Click here to watch the video.

More information on the DNR’s Asian carp page.

89.1 WEMU's First Friday Focus on the Environment is a regular monthly feature where we explore a topic of environmental importance. 

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Lisa Wozniak is Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
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