I wanted to take a quick minute, prior to the weekend, to provide you with some new information on the Asian Carp issue. We don’t always take the time to communicate it – but we are spending time trying to affect positive results on it.
This week the MI Attorney General’s office filed a new motion to the Supreme Court, with the new and pertinent information concerning eDNA samples discovered in Lake Michigan (which was not provided by the Army Corp in a timely manner when the Supreme Court was making their original determination). Information on this new motion can be found at the AG’s website, and can be reached as well – through their website www.stopasiancarp.com which is linked to on our website www.michigantu.org. This represents a continued attempt to do everything within MI’s power to help stop the colonization of these fishes into the Great Lakes.
On Monday there will be a congressional meeting on this subject (remember Rep Camp and Senator Stabenow from MI have concurrent bills introduced, referred to as “the Carp Act”, that would force the US Army Corp of Engineers to take appropriate actions – which they have failed to do so far). There will be lots of great testimony given at the meeting – including MDNRE Director Humphries. TU Governmental Affairs staff will provide written testimony in support of the bills – and will be in attendance at these meetings. An action alert is being prepared as we speak, by TU Nat’l to be emailed to all members of TU – asking for them to voice their support for the Carp Act. This should be ready by early next week.
Tuesday will be the White House summit on asian carp, where Great Lakes Governor’s will meet with President Obama to dicuss this matter. I was told Wednesday by Governor Granholm’s staff that she will be pleading with the President to immediately close the navigational locks, develop plans to build a permanent dam/barrier there, plan to build other barriers to help prevent carp spread during floods (on other tributaries), develop monitoring and eradication plans, develop education plans on the severity of the danger of asian carp, operate the electric barrier at full power immediately, and explore alternate transportation alternatives to the locks. They also indicated that the President plans to release “an action plan” following the meeting.
On February 12th, there will be an asian carp regional coordinating committee meeting in Chicago. This meeting will be held by the US EPA to discuss plans and get recommendations on Asian carp control efforts. The committee will answer questions and listen to comments from the public. A second meeting will be scheduled in the near future elsewhere in the Great Lakes basin. The meeting will be attended by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Coast Guard; State of Illinois and other Great Lakes states; City of Chicago; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Scientific experts. It will be from 3pm – 6pm and will be televised at http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/live . Those who cannot attend the meeting in person can submit questions on the Web site. When available, the framework and a transcript of the meeting will be posted on http://www.asiancarp.org/regionalcoordination. Comments on the framework may also be submitted on-line at the above Web site.
Lastly, the MI House democrats have been ramping up their involvement to help on this issue as well. They are headed to Chicago next week to advocate for action. They are also organizing some information town halls around Michigan on this subject – with one planned for tomorrow in Traverse City. They also asked me to answer some questions on video for use in a short video segment. Turns out – I was the only one talking on the video (never at a shortage of words I guess). Their website for action is http://www.noasiancarp.com please visit it and see what’s available for action through this venue as well.
None of this stops the asian carp that have already made it into lake Michigan – but its all necessary to getting a solution. I know we all have members that are frustrated. Hope this helps explain some of the things that are transpiring on the issue, and explains some of the things TU is trying to do behind the scenes to help on the issue.