Obama administration officials met with several Great Lakes governors last week to discuss strategies for tackling the region’s Asian Carp problem.
The White House unveiled a $78.5 million, multi-disciplined strategy to combat the spread of the invasive fish, including an emergency measure to block passage of water and fish between the Des Plaines River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC).
Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality met with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in an effort to coordinate an effective response across all levels of government. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell joined the meeting through conference call.
Gov. Granholm said that although she is grateful for the efforts of the Obama administration, she doesn’t believe the White House is doing enough to protect the ecosystem and the $9 billion boating and $7 billion sport and commercial fishing industries that support the regional economy.
"While we did have some areas of agreement with the White House, we believe that the plan does not adequately address the concerns we have been voicing about the imminent threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes," Granholm said. "I believe the proposal's primary objectives are not sustainable, and that this is a plan to limit damages—not solve the problem."
Granholm has called for closing the locks between the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal electrical barrier and Lake Michigan until that separation is constructed. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Gov. Quinn propose to continue operating the locks while attempts are made to suppress Asian carp populations.