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Asian carp threaten Bays de Noc

June 9, 2010
Daily Press

A decision last week by federal officials that placed the Bays de Noc in peril - along with the rest of the Great Lakes.

Officials once again refused to close Chicago-area shipping locks to stop Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The move, they said, could damage the Chicago-area economy.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said anything short of permanently closing the two locks is unlikely to make a difference to prevent the Asian Carp from gaining a foothold in Lake Michigan.

For months, Michigan and neighboring states have been asking anyone with influence - the Obama administration, Congress, the Supreme Court - for an immediate closure of the shipping locks. Once again, the hopes of these states that have so much to lose have been dashed.

Asian carp pose a huge threat to the Great Lakes fishing industry. A voracious feeder, Asian carp could easily starve out native species which would be unable to compete for food. The result would be a blow to the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing industry.

On the other hand, Illinois government and business leaders say closing the locks would cripple Chicago shippers and tour boat operators and cost its local economy $4.7 billion over two decades.

Why should Delta County residents care whether these shipping lanes are closed or not?

We should all care because the Delta County's water resources and fishery impact us all. The Great Lakes as a whole will suffer if Asian carp gain a foothold, and so will the Bays de Noc. The fishing resources of the bays bring much needed tourist dollars to the area, along with several professional fishing tournaments each year.

The bays and their resources also hold great value to residents. Enjoying the outdoors is the reason why many of us choose to call the Delta County area home.

The Asian carp is a threat to that way of life. The Bays de Noc have already taken a blow from illegal fishing. The Asian carp would make matters much worse.

Invasive species take a toll on the Great Lakes and spread very quickly. Need proof? Try taking a walk on a Delta County beach and not finding zebra mussels.



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