Asian Carp – A Chicago Area Waterways Advisory Committee Update

GBF talked to David A. Ullrich, the Executive Director of the Great Lakes St.Lawrence Cities Initiative for an update on the activities of the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) Advisory Committee, whose members have met since 2014. The Committee includes representatives from 30 public and private stakeholders that benefit from and have responsibilities related to the CAWS, as well as regional stakeholder groups representing commercial, recreational, and environmental interests. Thank you to Mr. Ullrich for updating us on the work of The Committee, and providing this summary.
(March 24, 2016) Intensive work has been underway for over five years to come up with short, mid, and long term solutions to the threat of Asian carp reaching the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin through the Chicago Area Waterway System, and other invasive species moving in both directions between the basins.

An Advisory Committee of over 30 stakeholders has met quarterly for over two years to consider alternatives and options and develop consensus on actions to be taken. Intensive commercial fishing, extensive monitoring, electric barriers, and other actions are the major elements of the short-term work. The Advisory Committee reached consensus on a letter to President Obama in August 2015 requesting expedited studies on steps that could be taken in the mid-term at the Brandon Road lock and dam about 60 miles from Lake Michigan. Likewise, the Advisory Committee reached consensus on another letter to the President in January 2016, for expedited work on an aquatic invasive species lock or system that would provide protection comparable to full physical separation in the long-term.

Many stakeholders still maintain that full physical separation should be the solution, and all recognize it is the most effective way to stop the movement of invasive species in both directions. Others argue that this approach would interfere too much with transportation.

The Advisory Committee will continue meeting in the coming year to keep the mid and long term solution process moving and to address other issues that arise.

For more information...

There are so many prevention measures and processes in work or in place – to find out more details on the following, please link through to Stopping Asian Carp, which captures key points of the following:
- What’s in place now?
- What are the short term plans?
- Is there a long term solution?

Logo of CAWS

Who is a part of the Chicago Area Waterways Advisory Committee? Refer to this link to see a PDF of the members.