On February 5, Rep. Candice
Miller (R-Michigan) introduced H.R. 4001, the Defending Against Aquatic
Invasive Species Act, to authorize swift preventive action to stop Asian carp
from entering the Great Lakes. The bill has been referred to the House
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, where no action has yet been
scheduled. H.R. 4001 has four co-sponsors.
At an estimated cost of $16
billion, Rep. Miller’s bill would authorize the Corps to completely seal the
boundary between the Illinois River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal by
building a barrier to keep the invasive carp out. Miller maintains it’s the most
foolproof way of stopping advancement of this destructive species.
Since the 1970s, our nation has
been working to stop Asian carp from migrating up the Mississippi River
watershed. MRAA has previously sought protection against carp migration by
asking the Corps to install electronic barriers at the northern end of the
Illinois River and along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (to date, three
have been built); promoting fish processing plants to prepare for exportation
of Asian carp (two have been built on the Illinois River); promoting fishing
tournaments aimed at catching Asian carp; and authorizing a study examining how
to further curtail the advancement of Asian carp form the Great Lakes. Today, the
canal is the only link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
MRAA is working with the National
Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) to develop a position on the bill.