Carp poison complete, barrier work to follow

Chicago – Hours after a stretch of the Chicago Ship Canal was
poisoned on Dec. 2, fish began to float to the surface.

And the hopeful riddance of Asian carp had begun.

Using about 2,000 gallons of toxin, Illinois officials plan was
to kill off any carp in the canal while an electrical barrier
designed to keep them from the Great Lakes is turned off for
maintenance.

DNR biologists were monitoring the fish kill and planned to do
so for several days, agency spokesman Chris McCloud said.

Cleanup operations were to be implemented on Dec. 3 and would
“involve several boats patrolling the area,” officials added.

The ongoing battle with the carp stems from environmentalists
fearing the invasive carp could starve out other fish and cause the
collapse of the $7 billion-a-year Great Lakes fishing industry.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made and set in motion plans to
kill every fish in a 5-mile stretch of the Chicago Sanitary and
Ship Canal to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan as
workers update electronic barriers.

“What we’re really worried about is reproducing populations
getting established in the Great Lakes,” John Rogner, assistant DNR
director, said. “It’s very possible that a few fish in the Great
Lakes will simply mean that’s what we’ll have, a few fish in the
Great Lakes.”

Meanwhile, officials from surrounding states were getting
nervous about the carp and its gradual creeping toward Lake
Michigan.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm publicly called for Illinois to
consider closing infected canals leading into Lake Michigan. She
says her struggling state can’t afford to risk its $4.5 billion
fishing and tourism industry.

Scheduled maintenance will be done on Barrier IIA, one of two
electric barriers presently in operation on the canal constructed
to prevent the movement of the destructive carp into Lake Michigan
and the Great Lakes. Performing scheduled maintenance is required
in order to maintain reliability of the structures and minimize the
risk of outages due to inadequate maintenance, Corps officials
said.

The Corps also noted that during the maintenance shutdown
Barrier I will remain active. However, because of detection of
Asian carp near the barrier system there is concern that Barrier I
may not be effective.

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