Proos supports funding to fight Asian carp

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Thursday supported legislation that includes funding to assist in the battle against Asian carp.

“The battle against Asian carp is one we cannot afford to lose,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The impact of Asian carp getting into Lake Michigan would be catastrophic to the health of the Great Lakes and the livelihoods of thousands of Michigan families — and Southwest Michigan would be one of the first areas affected.”

In 2014, the Legislature enacted a citizen-initiated law to give authority to the Natural Resources Commission to designate game species; put $1 million toward the prevention of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species (AIS); and provide free hunting, trapping and fishing licenses for members of the military.

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently said that the initiated law was unconstitutional because the provision allowing free licenses for qualified military members was unrelated to the law’s objective of providing for scientific management of game, fish and wildlife habitat.

Senate Bill 1187 would rededicate the $1 million toward the prevention of Asian carp and other AIS by reestablishing the initiated law without the unrelated license provision.

“I have long supported all efforts to fight Asian carp. We must prevent a disaster that would decimate our vibrant fishing, tourism and boating industries and wreak havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and all its inland lakes and rivers,” Proos said. “This funding will go a long way in protecting our waters from an invasion that would forever change the way of life along Lake Michigan.”

This year, the Senate approved Senate Resolution 12, sponsored by Proos, to back the Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee’s recommendations to implement immediate control technologies at Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois, and to investigate the specific system of control points for long-term movement of AIS into and out of the Great Lakes.

Proos also co-sponsored SR 184 in May to encourage residents to increase their understanding and awareness of AIS, such as Asian carp, and their ecological and economic impacts.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available later on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/audio.