File spoon-archives/anarchy-list.archive/anarchy-list_2004/anarchy-list.0407, message 20

Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2004 13:36:15 -0500
Subject: rampant oppression of my people, erm, brethren..

And that damned old goat keeps yapping about how his folks were oppressed...


Carp to get shock of lives at canal

By Stanley Ziemba
Tribune staff reporter

July 13, 2004

An ecological battleground was established along the Chicago Sanitary and 
Ship Canal near Romeoville Monday to keep invasive Asian carp from entering 
Lake Michigan.

Federal, state and local officials, along with Canadian Consulate General 
James Lynch, broke ground for an electric barrier across the canal that 
authorities hope will stop the carp with its voracious appetite from 
gobbling the Great Lakes' native fish and their food supplies.

Asian bighead and silver carp, two species that can reach a length of 4 
feet and a weight of 100 pounds, have made their way up the Mississippi and 
Illinois rivers to within about 50 miles of Lake Michigan, said Rep. Judy 
Biggert (R-Ill.).

"The carp are coming, and they are coming fast," said Biggert, who helped 
secure nearly $1.5 million in federal funding for the project. "We stand 
here today at the last line of defense, the last barrier standing between 
these destructive fish and the thriving economy and ecosystem of our Great 

Construction on the $6.7 million, pulsating underwater electric fence is 
set to begin July 26 and should be completed this fall. The Sanitary and 
Ship Canal is the sole link between the lakes and the Mississippi River.

The state Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the Corps of 
Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Chicago Department of 
Environment on the barrier project.

The Asian carp, which escaped from southern commercial fish farms where 
they were brought from China to control algae, are prolific reproducers and 
have been migrating up the Mississippi at the rate of 40 miles a year since 
the 1980s, said DNR Deputy Director Leslie Sgro.

"They're taking over the waterway," Sgro said. "In some areas along the 
Illinois they make up 70 to 80 percent of the fish population. It's 
absolutely essential that we stop them."

The electric fence will supplement a series of temporary electric cables 
that were strung across the canal two years ago to prevent invasive goby 
fish from migrating from the Great Lakes into the Mississippi watershed.

The cable barrier, built as a demonstration project, is beginning to wear 
out, said Col. Gary Johnston, commander of the Chicago District of the Army 
Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing construction of the fence.

If additional funding becomes available, plans call for replacing the 
existing barrier with a permanent one, creating two barriers a few hundred 
feet apart in the canal and making it more difficult for invasive fish to 
migrate between the Mississippi and Great Lakes, Johnston said.

The rail-like barriers to be placed at the bottom of the canal work much as 
an electric fence deters pets and other animals, Johnston said. "They don't 
affect navigation on the canal, and they don't kill the fish; they just 
send enough of an electrical charge through the water to deter the fish 
from going beyond a certain point."

Research has shown electrical barriers are almost 100 percent effective in 
deterring Asian carp. Still, Biggert and Sgro said barriers alone will not 
eliminate the threat that the carp could destroy the Great Lakes' $4.5 
billion annual sport and commercial fishing industries. A solution must be 
found to reduce their numbers in the Mississippi River system, and more 
effort is needed to prevent people from dumping invasive fish into local 
waterways, they said.

Over the last year, two Asian bighead carp, weighing 38 and 45 pounds, were 
caught in the McKinley Park lagoon on Chicago's South Side where they had 
been dumped, alarming conservation officials even though the lagoon is not 
connected to Lake Michigan.

As a result, Chicago, the Park District and the state plan to shock the 
lagoon Tuesday to see if any other invasive carp inhabit it.

Copyright (c) 2004, Chicago Tribune 


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