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New Bill Introduced to Fight Asian Carp in Minnesota
With all the attention Asian carp have gotten as they approach Lake Michigan through the Chicago canals, the other pathways to the Great Lakes have often been ignored. However, the live capture of Asian carp last week just south of the Twin Cities and new legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress has raised the urgency levels outside of Chicago.
Live Asian Carp Captured Just South of Twin Cities
On Friday March 1st, comercial fisherman captured live Asian (silver and bighead) carp in the Mississippi River near Winona, Minnesota. This recent capture is a game changer.
If Asian carp are allowed to move further north, Minnesota’s wildlife and way of life are at risk.
Several positive eDNA hits of Asian carp were found this summer in the Twin Cities in the Mississippi, St. Croix and Minnesota Rivers. So, this capture reaffirms the results of the positive eNDA testing.
Known to batter boaters and even knock them into the water at the sound of a passing motor, Asian carp are voracious filter feeders that can grow to more than 4 feet long, weigh up to 100 pounds and quickly dominate a body of water by gobbling up the same food that sustains native fish populations.
Minnesota Congressional Delegation Steps Up
In response to this, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representatives Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, and Tim Walz introduced The Upper Mississippi Conservation and River Protection Act (Upper Mississippi CARP Act) yesterday.
The bill would require the Upper St. Anthony Falls Dam to be closed in the event that Asian carp are found in certain areas closer to the dam until appropriate control measures can be put in place.
In addition, the bill requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct feasibility studies on both the temporary and permanent closing of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Dam within six months and a year of the bill becoming law respectively. The studies would also examine the possibility of using other control methods, such as modifying lock operations and alternative barriers, to stop the spread of Asian carp. The bill would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Dam based on the findings of these feasibility studies.
National Wildlife Federation and our state affiliate, Minnesota Conservation Federation, join Minnesota Governor Dayton, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and numerous Minnesota Legislators in support of this bill.
This new legislation is a refreshing and bi-partisan display of unified support for action to stop Asian carp.