The dominant part of the cultural and physical heritage of North America is characterized by the Great Lakes which include:Ontario,Superior, Huron,MichiganandErie. The lakes contain vast freshwaters that are used for recreation, consumption, power and transportation among other uses. North America shares the lakes withCanada, and they occupy the largest freshwater surface on the earth. BothCanadaandAmericauses the basin for agriculture.
Great lakesare sensitive to effects of pollutants such as nutrient pollution, toxics, habitats degradation and invasive species. This paper presents Asian carp as a major invasive species that stresses the lakes. The paper has discussed what Asian carp are, how they found their way in the lakes, the government concern about them, costs associated with taking action against them, the cost of neglecting their invasion, and economic and political entities with a stake in the issue.
Asian carp, their way to the Great Lakes and U.S. government concern about them.
The Asian carp are large in size, they consume large amount of food, and they are extremely prolific. The size of Asian carp and their rapid rate of reproduction have raisedUnited Statesgovernment’s concern. The fish are likely to put the ecosystem of theGreat Lakesat significant risk. (Kolar 40). The Asian carp got close to the great lakes in 1970s when catfish farmers imported its two species – silver and bighead to clear suspended matter and algae from their ponds. The large floods that occurred in early 1990s caused overflow in many catfish farm ponds to releasing the Asian carp into waterways in the riverMississippibasin. Since then, the Asian carp moved steadily northwards up riverMississippi. (Balon 45), (Tucker 242).
Costs associated with taking action against Asian carp
TheUSgovernment worked with the States of Illinois, Environment Protection Agency, International Joint Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife services, the Great Lakes Fishery commission and U.S. Corps of Engineers to construct and maintain permanent electric barrier as a way of preventing the carp from enteringLake Michigan. The barrier was to be constructed atChicagosanitary and ship canal that connects riverMississippito the great lakes through riverIllinois.
The costs of taking action against Asian carp involved closure of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Water tests of the DNA of the fish showed the fish had breached the barrier. Now, many researchers believe a small population of the fish is swimming in the lake.
Out of despair, the idea to use locks to cork biological invasion of the fish emerged. This would give biologists chance and time to determine ways of preventing spillage breeding population of the fish population into the lake. Use of this lock as a makeshift barrier was havoc on the economy of the region. The locks were used as safety values preventing the floodwater from washing the city’s basements and streets. According to the arguments raised by sewerage officials inChicagoremoval of these locks meant diverting the flood water from enteringLake Michiganinto the streets and basements in the city. (Burr 80).
The locks were also used as transportation system inChicago. This means their closure would influence the transportation in the region. The transportation analysis carried out in the region showed that the annual cargo that used the locks could be handled by train and freights. Although transportation using the locks would be altered, and the fact that its contribution to the economy ofChicagois extremely small, rails and roads would be overburdened by its closure.
Critiques considered this closure to have a political base. They argued that politicians are used this as overpowering force to scare people from navigation industry. They related the closure with the Seaway issue that left the shipping industry without ideas on how to fix the ballast problem. To them destruction of the ecology was related to the ballast water, and the issue of Asian carp was just a threat as the current ecological disruption is significant in the history of lakes, and it has nothing to do with the fish. (Rowntree et al. 45).
Costs of neglecting action against these fish
The climate of theGreat Lakesregion suits Asian carp as it is similar to the climate in their native Asian habitat. They are large in size, they consume large amount of food, and they are extremely prolific. This means doing nothing against their invasion is disastrous as they are capable of dominating theGreat lakesdue to their rapid reproduction rate. The Asian carp are likely to put the Great Lakes ecosystem at risk as their ravenous appetites and size, are capable of disrupting the food chain that supplies the native fish in theGreat Lakes. Taking action against these fish can improve the economy of theGreat Lakesregion through increased output in fishing industry. (Vicini).
Economic and political entities with a stake in this issue
The Federal government ofChicagopresented $78.5 million to fund the blockage of Asian carp fromGreat lakes. Various Great lake states, Environment Protection Agencies, and Army Corp Engineers together with other agencies met to establish Asian carp control strategy framework that aimed at limiting the fish from establishing in the lakes and taking over the ecosystem. According to the states officials, the DNA material that was found inLake Michiganwas not sufficient. The federal officials added sonar and physical monitoring, electric shock, faster testing and other measures to improve the search. These plans were to be funded by the federal money in its effort to restore theGreat Lakes. These efforts also involved completion of a third electric barrier. (Davey par. 4), (Belkin par.6).
Leaders fromMichiganand other states considered the risks posed by the fish in the fishing industry, but the leaders fromChicagowere worried about the influence of the closure of the waterways between RiverMississippiandLake Michiganon the barge industry. The attorney general ofMichigansought closure of locks by filing a lawsuit againstIllinoisofficials. (Janega par. 1) (Merrion)
Canadaworked together with U.S government to protect and maintain theGreat Lakes.
Great Lakesserve many purposes. The lakes are used byCanadaandNorth America. The rapid rate of reproduction, size and the ability of Asian carp to eat large amount of food poses a significant risk to the Ecology, and nations that use the water for various purposes. Although the costs associated with the taking action against the fish are great, the costs of neglecting the invasion are more disastrous.
Work cited list
Balon, E. “Origin and domestication of the wild carp, Cyprinus carpio: from Roman gourmets to the swimming flowers.” Aquaculture 129.1-4 (1995): 40-48
Belkin, Douglas “U.S.unveils plan to keep Asian carp out ofGreat Lakes” Wall Street Journal, 2010. Web. 8 February 2010, <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703630404575053931637941738.html>
Burr, B. “Nonnative fishes in Illinoiswaters: what do the records reveal?” Trans. IL. State Academy of Science 89.1-2 (1996):73-91.
Davey, Monica. “U.S.officials plan $78.5 Million effort to keep dangerous carp out of great lakes.” New York Times. 2010. Web. 8 February 2010 <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/science/09asiancarp.html?>
Janega, James. “Fight to keep Asian carp out ofGreat Lakesreaches supreme court.” Los AngelesTimes. 2009. Web. 22 December 2009 http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/22/nation/la-na-asian-carp22-2009dec22
Kolar, C. Bigheaded carp: biological synopsis and environmental risk assessment.Bethesda,MD: American Fisheries Society, 2007.
Merrion, Paul. “Illinoisfights back as states seek carp-blocking canal closures”
Crain’s Chicago Business. 2010. Web. 30 March 2010 <http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?>
Rowntree, Les, et al. Diversity amid globalization.Upper Saddle River,NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.
Tucker, J. 1996. “Bighead carp in the Mississippi River.” Journal of Freshwater Ecology. 11.2 (1996): 241-243.
Vicini, James. “Michiganrequest denied inGreat Lakescarp case”, Reuters.2010. Web. 19 January 2010 <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1920892420100119?>