DETROIT — A group of lawmakers yesterday said that the idea to stop the spread of the invasive Asian carp by permanently separating waterways linking the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes should be looked at with increased urgency.
US Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Dick Durbin of Illinois, both Democrats, introduced the Permanent Prevention of Asian Carp Act in the Senate to speed up research. Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan, introduced it in the House.
The lawmakers’ action comes after officials announced last week that an Asian carp had been found for the first time beyond electric barriers meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes. Commercial fishermen landed the 3-foot-long, 20-pound bighead carp in Lake Calumet on Chicago’s South Side, about 6 miles from Lake Michigan.
The legislation would require the US Army Corps of Engineers to complete research on so-called hydrological separation within 18 months. The Army Corps has said research could take up to five years.
“While this method would require a complex feat of engineering, we need to understand the costs and benefits and whether this method offers the best hope for . . .containing not only the carp, but other invasive species,’’ Durbin.
Jim Farrell, executive director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Infrastructure Council, said there are other options that should be explored to keep the carp out, such as expanding electric barriers or conducting fish kills.