The United States Army Corps of Engineers has laid out the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Inter-Basin Study Management Plan to identify options to prevent invasive species from being transferred between the Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes.
The Corps is currently seeking Public Comment on the issue. Community meetings in Ann Arbor and Traverse City have past and opportunities for public comment are running short. There will be no meeting in West Michigan.
We need you to tell the Corps to move swiftly on this issue, and to find a permanent and effective solution. The Corps will use your comments to identify issues of concern to the public and to decide the ultimate scope of the study. Submit your official public comments at the following link:
The public comment period will close on March 31, 2011.
Useful talking points from Tip of the Mitt Watershed to inform your letter are found after the jump. Please don’t hesitate to personalize your message:
- The Army Corps of Engineers is urged to conduct the study with all due haste. The current time frame – with planned completion in 2015 – increases the risk of Asian Carp infestation.
- The only permanent and sustainable solution to this problem is hydrologic separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin – this will require improvements to the Chicago Waterway System eliminating any direct connection between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes that allows invasives to pass.
- Hydrologic separation does not mean: Commercial shipping stops, recreational access to Lake Michigan is cut off, All navigational locks are closed, or Flooding will increase in severity
- If done right, hydrologic separation will involve smart, new infrastructure in the Chicago area that will make the region more globally competitive, upgrade treatment of wastewater and storm water, and will prevent Chicago sewage overflows into Lake Michigan.
- Interim measures are critical, but anything short of a physical barrier is unlikely to be 100 percent effective against fish – not to mention other aquatic organisms.