U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Bipartisan Effort to Stop Asian Carp
Legislation directs Army Corps to target vulnerable point of entry in Chicago area waterway system, requires work with Great Lakes partners on long-term solutions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, joined a bipartisan group of senators led by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to introduce legislation to stop Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes, which put thousands of jobs at risk. Invasive species pose a grave threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem and the region’s $7 billion recreational fishing and $16 billion recreational boating industries. The Defending Our Great Lakes Act will give federal agencies broad authority to take immediate actions to stop the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species. This legislation will also require key agencies to work with regional stakeholders to institute long-term measures to stop the spread of invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
“The Great Lakes are a great asset for our quality of life in Wisconsin and also for our long term economic security. However, the future of our Great Lakes is under threat from invasive species like the Asian carp,” said Baldwin. “This invasive species threatens our freshwater economy – from the commercial and sport fishing industry on the Great Lakes to the health of the water and our coastal communities. I’m proud to join this effort and continue my work carrying on the strong Wisconsin tradition of protecting our Great Lakes.”
The Defending Our Great Lakes Act gives the Army Corps of Engineers authority to take near-term and long-term actions to prevent the spread of invasive species at a critical control point near the western end of the Chicago Area Waterway System—the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. A January 2014 report by the Army Corps of Engineers, called the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), called for the construction of an engineered channel to put control technologies in place like additional electric barriers, carbon dioxide bubble screens, underwater sound canons and pheromones at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers announced in December 2014 that they are evaluating which technologies will be most effective at keeping invasive species out of the Great Lakes Basin. This bill gives the Corps the flexibility to choose from all of their available options prior to making a decision.
Under the Defending Our Great Lakes Act, the Army Corps of Engineers will be required to lead federal efforts to prevent the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species in coordination with local, state, and regional officials in consultation with the business and environmental communities. The Army Corps of Engineers will be required to report to Congress within 18 months and each year thereafter.
Other original cosponsors include Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), Charles Schumer (D-NY).
This legislation is supported by the Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes Metro Chamber of Commerce, Healing our Waters Coalition, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Michigan Trout Unlimited, and Michigan Conservation Clubs.
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