Asian Carp Lose Interest in Great Lakes Amid Waffling by Obama, Illinois, Army Corps

asian carp great lakes
Credit: Flickr via kate.gardiner

If only the headline were true. The truth is, leaders in the Great Lakes region are crying for help in the fight against Asian carp. Barack Obama, who just happens to be a former Illinois senator, has opposed plans, along with officials in his state, to close Chicago area shipping locks in a last-ditch effort to keep the monster invasive fish from colonizing the lakes.

Studies by Notre Dame experts have found Asian Carp DNA beyond a barrier designed to keep them from entering Lake Michigan, and in a Lake Michigan harbor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, meanwhile, has proposed closing the locks for a few days a week in an effort to control the fish—a plan that Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox called "as logical as keeping criminals in jail four days a week and hoping the other three days go well." What's next? For now, the fight has gone online. Maybe shame will move this along? The latest 'net effort is a postcard campaign at, which allows the user to send a virtual boatload of the fish to officials in Illinois. Presumably, favorite son Obama also could have some of the swimmers.

Asian carp are apparently considered delicious in some cultures, as John Laumer has reported. The problem, here, however is that the fish outcompete native species and threaten to devastate a $7 billion fishing industry and $9 billion boating industry in the Great Lakes. The value of industry using the Chicago shipping canal is a bit less, at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also, the Asian carp can grow to be four feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds, and are known for jumping out of the water when agitated by passing motor boats. Which makes a Great Lakes helmet law a future possibility (kidding, kinda).


"To the Governor of Illinois and the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago," the postcard says.

"Your inaction to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan is holding our Great Lakes, our economy and our workers' jobs hostage."

More than 1,000 of the postcards flooded the e-mail inbox at the metro district shortly after the campaign was launched by Michigan House Democrats.

To which The Chicago Tribune opined, "The problem is the water district, which operates the locks only to relieve pressure from flooding, does not have the authority to close them. That would require an agreement between the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers, or maybe an act of Congress."

Perhaps the e-mails (and this article?) will be forwarded to the proper agencies.

More from TreeHugger
Michigan Request For Lock-Closing Turned Down By US Supreme Court
Asian Carp Fever Grips Great Lakes, Monster Invasive Fish May Already Be Here
Was it Worth It? One Asian Carp Found After Six Miles of River Poisoned in Illinois
Interview with Lindsay Chadderton, the Scientist Who Discovered the Asian Carp DNA Beyond the Barrier

Related Content on