LANSING—The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) closed about two miles of the St. Joseph River on Tuesday to conduct a field exercise that will help the state test their plan in anticipation of what might occur if Asian carp are discovered in Lake Michigan or one of its rivers, said Sen. John Proos, who continues to push for closing the Chicago locks and ending the water diversions from the Great Lakes through Chicago.
“Asian carp would wreak havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and all its rivers, devastate a $7 billion fishing industry and jeopardize the livelihoods of many Michigan families,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose, so I will continue pushing Congress to prevent an ecological and economic disaster by closing the Chicago locks.”
The DNR exercise will continue on the St. Joseph River on Wednesday until 11 p.m.
“By now, you may have seen DNR officials out in the river testing fish collection methods. They are preparing for the nightmare of an Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes,” Proos said. “Thankfully, no live bighead carp or silver carp have been found in Michigan waters, since the environmental and economic impact of an Asian carp infestation would be catastrophic.
“I want to commend the DNR for being vigilant so that Michigan is as ready if the fight against this invasive species comes to our local waters.”
The DNR’s Fisheries Division is tasked with developing a plan for addressing any findings of Asian carp in Michigan waters. The two-day field exercise is engaging more than 30 employees and is funded in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The methods used as part of this exercise involve netting and electrofishing and will focus on the species of grass carp, common carp and black buffalo.
The DNR believes that the St. Joseph River was chosen for this exercise because would likely be the first point of invasion due to the currents in Lake Michigan from the Chicago area and the river’s features that would provide an attractive habitat for Asian carp.
For more information on Asian carp efforts in Michigan, please visit www.michigan.gov/asiancarp. For more information on the field exercise on the St. Joseph River, contact Tammy Newcomb at 517-373-3960.
Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”