MRAA Urges Army Corp to Address Invasive Species Threat in the Great Lakes
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Posted by: William Higgins
MRAA, along with several other recreational boating and conservation partners, signed a joint letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James, requesting expedited consideration of the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) at Brandon Road Lock and Dam – an important measure to prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes region. The letter is one of the first actions taken by the recently formed Boating and Fishing Aquatic Invasive Species Coalition, which is comprised of stakeholder organizations from around the country to present a united front on Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) policies at the federal level.
The letter states that, “Recreational boating and angling is embedded within the Great Lakes history and economy. In 2015, the Great Lakes region accounted for 26.5% of all registered boats throughout the country, accounting for more than 3.1 million registered recreational boats. In the Great Lakes region, the recreational boating industry contributes $36.4 billion to the economy, provides nearly 195,000 jobs and supports more than 7,150 businesses. The fishing industry in the Great Lakes is also a robust economic driver with 1.95 million anglers, adding $5.6 billion annually to the Great Lakes regional economy and nearly 45,000 jobs.
“As you know, Asian carp were discovered last year just nine miles from Lake Michigan. If they were to infiltrate into the Great Lakes, it could be devastating for the region’s citizens and economy.
“Our organizations believe that the TSP at Brandon Road Lock and Dam is the most feasible current option for protecting the Great Lakes region from Asian carp. However, we are concerned with the current USACE timeline outlined in the TSP, specifically the February 2019 Senior Leadership Panel and inclusion in the August 2019 Chief’s Report. This timeline would delay Congressional approval and authorization until 2020 and 2021 respectively. Our organizations respectfully urge you to conduct the Senior Leader’s Panel this coming fall, so that the TSP process can continue quickly.”
To read the full letter, click here.