Asian Carp Prevention Fund
We Need Your Help to Protect the Great Lakes
Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. Though humorous to watch, these large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and commercial and recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.
The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span. The electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. We have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.
The Second Barrier
Ground was broken for the second larger, longer-life barrier on July 12, 2004. The cost of the design/construction of this new barrier exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program under which the project is being constructed limits the federal contribution to the project to $5 million.
We need your financial help to fund the operation of the barrier and the rapid response plan should that become necessary.
The State of Illinois has already contributed $2 million to the project and it will be difficult to obtain the entire balance from a single government entity. Governors of most of the other Great Lakes do not feel they are able to contribute the balance of the funds at this time, yet the timing of these additional contributions is critical. If the funds can not be secured the cost of construction will increase by 30% or more and we will not have the two-barrier system needed to prevent small Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes until the second barrier is complete.
We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help
Asian Carp Rapid Response
A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is constructed.
The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.
We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this summer or fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 foot distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.
The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2004.
Use of Donated Funds
The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sportfishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 % of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:
1) 1) Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan
2) 2) Improve or operate Barrier I
3) 3) Construct Barrier II
The funds will not be used for agency labor and will not be used for research.
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