Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move to design the complete hydrologic separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins to prevent invasive species, specifically Asian carp, from reaching the Great Lakes.
The call to action was part of Attorney General DeWine’s testimony on the report of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study, conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“While the report discusses alternatives, it makes no recommendation of action. Decisive and effective action is necessary now,” DeWine said.
“Failure to protect the Great Lakes simply is not an option," DeWine said. "We must act immediately. Every day of additional delay is another chance that the Asian carp will establish themselves in the Great Lakes. The impacts of that disaster on the ecosystem are irreversible, and the impacts on the economy of all the Great Lakes States have been conservatively estimated to be in the billions."
Invasive species are species of plants and animals not native to a particular habitat. When introduced to new habitats, they can cause extensive damage to the existing ecosystem. Non-native Asian carp are believed to have escaped into the rivers of the Mississippi basin after flooding in the 1970s and 1980s.
As a United States Senator, DeWine introduced both the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act and the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act to address invasive species attacking Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.
Additionally, since 2010, the attorneys general of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania have been litigating to seek judicial action requiring immediate relief in federal court. The states are seeking a court order requiring the federal government develop a permanent ecological separation at the conjunction of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins that occurs at the Chicago Area Waterway System. Oral arguments have been scheduled in the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on January 22.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified the Chicago Area Water System as the most direct pathway for the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, and evidence of the presence of carp has been detected within a few miles of Lake Michigan.