Chicago – In the wake of a lawsuit filed against Illinois by a
handful of Great Lakes states over Asian carp, federal officials
said they found evidence the fish is closer to Lake Michigan than
On Jan. 11, officials announced two samples taken in October
showed Asian carp DNA were collected at the Wilmette Pumping
Station north of downtown Chicago. The station, which pumps water
from Lake Michigan into the Chicago River, is too close for comfort
for many who are working to protect the Great Lakes from invasive
“We don’t know yet what course of action will ensure that these
carp don’t reach the lake, but we do know that every level of
government is committed to restoring and protecting the Great
Lakes,” Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said at a briefing at Chicago’s
Shedd Aquarium the same day the latest carp DNA finding was
Before the discovery, the closest carp DNA had been found was
six miles from the lake.
State and federal officials in Illinois requested the DNA
testing by a University of Notre Dame professor and relied on DNA
evidence to carry out that state’s largest fish kill ever in
December near the electric barrier. A lone carp was found among the
dead fish, but an expert on Asian carp who tested the poison on
them said the carp would sink, rather than float.
Two weeks before Durbin’s speech, Michigan Attorney General Mike
Cox has filed suit to close off the Chicago waterways leading from
the canal to Lake Michigan to make sure carp don’t get any further.
Four other states and Ontario joined that lawsuit.
Illinois is on record as opposing closing the locks for safety
and commerce reasons.
Michigan officials said they are still waiting for a plan from
Illinois and the federal agencies for how they’ll keep carp
The Army Corps of Engineers operates the electric barrier on the
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal meant to keep carp out of the Great
Durbin said closing the canal could lead to the flooding of
thousands of area homes.
“We are not in denial about the threat of this invasive
species,” Durbin said. “The purpose of this meeting is to make it
clear that we are doing things proactively, and we will continue