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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Illinois On Front Line of Great Lakes Carp Invasion Defense

Posted By on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Asian carp: Good for hugging, bad for Lake Erie.
  • Asian carp: Good for hugging, bad for Lake Erie.

The headline from the Chicago Tribune today reads: "Second chemical attack on Asian carp planned."

They make it sound like Illinois is laying down some agent orange whoopass on the carp, carpet bombing the living daylights out of the hordes of miscreants who, should they reach the Great Lakes, could wreck some environmental damage. It's hard not to read that and imagine a fighter pilot soaring over Illinois, talking into his mic: "Uh, this is Carp Carpet Bomber One. I'm in position. 5000 pounds of bunker-busting bombs locked and loaded. Those little buggers will never see it coming." And the response coming from headquarters: "Fire at will."

It's all a little (or, a lot) less Vietnam than that, but Illinois is really attacking those Asian carp that are threatening to invade our Great Lakes (as you can read in Scene's recent cover story here.)

The mundane details after the jump.

Illinois officials will launch a second chemical attack against Asian carp this month, this time closing an important section of the Calumet-Sag Channel to boating and cargo ships while biologists use a deadly fish toxin to hunt the invasive species.

A narrow 2-mile stretch of the channel south of the O'Brien Lock and Dam will be closed for at least five days beginning May 20, part of the next phase in the $80 million federal effort to stop the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.
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Officials will target areas where they have found Asian carp DNA but have yet to find whole fish. Proponents of this new plan, which will include more testing and monitoring, say this is the best chance to gauge how imminent a threat the carp pose to Lake Michigan.

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