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It was nice taking the holidays off, spending time with my family and sorting through my tackle, making lists for repairs or replacement over this winter. I have also been reading, with great interest, the evolving case against the Asian carp.
Just days before Christmas, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court to get immediate closure of two locks on the Cal-Sag Channel and the Illinois River to seal off Lake Michigan from the Asian carp.
The suit claims the State of Illinois and the Army Corp of Engineers have not done enough to protect Lake Michigan from the possible invasion of the carp. The suit asks to reopen a 100-year- old case that was never settled dealing with the creation of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The canal connected Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River, reversing the flow of the Chicago River by diverting more than two billion gallons of water every day from Lake Michigan and flushing all of Chicago’s pollutants downstream, away from Chicago’s drinking water. Since it was filed, the lawsuit has been joined by Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, New York and two Canadian Provinces, and there is building bi-partisan support in Congress and from the Alliance for the Great Lakes and other environmental groups.
Illinois is arguing that closing the locks would have a tremendous impact on the Chicago economy, estimating millions of dollars in losses if barge traffic is stopped. The Michigan lawsuit seeks to protect the $7.5 billion fishing industry in Lake Michigan and beyond. The Alliance for the Great Lakes sees the Asian carp as a major threat to the environmental balance in the Great lakes basin. Everyone is hoping that by closing the locks right now, we can buy time to find a better, more permanent solution to this problem. On Jan. 19 the Court entered an order denying the motion of Michigan and other states. The motion was to order Illinois to block the flow of its waters into Lake Michigan.
I don’t like the idea of closing the water corridor from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. But I like even less the idea of the Asian carp destroying the best fishing in the United States. The State of Illinois has been given millions of dollars to deal with this problem, and just two weeks ago the State was given an additional $13 million toward finding a permanent solution. I hope they take this seriously and work to create a solution.
Until next time, keep a tight line.