August 17, 2009

Invasive carp threatening Lake Michigan

A Great Lakes official says invasive Asian carp have made it miles beyond a Chicago barrier intended to keep the species out of Lake Michigan.

Great Lakes Fishery Commission spokesman Marc Gaden said after genetic testing showed evidence of flying Asian carp five miles beyond the electric barrier of a Chicago canal, the power on the barrier was increased to prevent further incursions, The Detroit Free Press said Monday.

These carp are clawing at the door now, Gaden said.

The silver carp could pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes due to their high reproduction rates and the fact they feed on tiny plankton.

These carp have the potential to be every bit as devastating as the worst invasives we have seen -- sea lamprey and zebra mussels, Gaden said. That's what we're worried about.

Col. Vincent Quarles, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers' Chicago District, told the Free Press it remains unclear whether the increased voltage at the electric barrier would prevent the spread of the invasive species.

. It's not a silver bullet, but it's the best tool we have, he said.