The Nature Conservancy Urges Interim Solutions and Two-way Management Concepts in Response to Army Corps GLMRIS report
The following is a statement from Mary Jean Huston, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin.
January 13, 2014
As scientific evidence mounts indicating the potential for imminent spread of Asian carp, Eurasian ruffe and other invasive species through the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), The Nature Conservancy continues to advocate for an interim, two-way, ecological separation solution implemented in a matter of years not decades.
We are concerned with the potential 25-year timetable for the proposed barrier solutions. The need for urgent action was recently highlighted when the Conservancy and its partners (University of Notre Dame and Central Michigan University) found evidence that Eurasian ruffe, a non-native species already in the Great Lakes may have spread to southern Lake Michigan, and threatens to invade the Illinois River, Mississippi River and beyond. This result emphasizes the need for urgent action and a two-way management system to prevent invasive plants and animals from moving into and from the Great Lakes.
While the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) limited its assessment to 13 species of current concern, these two basins need a solution that considers a full range of organisms. This includes species like golden mussel or killer shrimp that will continue to threaten North America’s freshwater ecosystems until protective state, provincial and binational federal aquatic invasive species policies are implemented.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study demonstrates that a natural divide restoration is feasible and that there are a number of viable options that achieve long-term environmental separation while maintaining crucial transportation and economic activity. Implementing effective methods to stop all species in both directions is vital to protecting two of the world’s largest and most important freshwater resources.
In short order the region must now come together to identify, select and implement measures to accomplish two-way separation. Aquatic invasive species are a shared problem and require a shared solution. For more information, go to www.nature.org/AIS.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.