Here is the most powerful evidence yet that Asian carp will invade the Great Lakes unless the Army Corps of Engineers takes action. Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel reports that scientists who found carp DNA in the Chicago canal system, a few miles off of Lake Michigan, had their work approvingly peer-reviewed by the journal Conservation Letters. Despite our commitment to intricate policy pieces, Understanding Government typically doesn’t blog about findings in Conservation Letters. However: the substantive argument by businesses and Illinois elected officials who didn’t want the Army Corp of Engineers to close a lock that connects Lake Michigan to Chicago waterways was that carp DNA evidence wasn’t peer-reviewed. The scientific doubt about the carp threat was partly behind the ruling of a Chicago federal judge to keep the locks open after five Great Lakes states sued to get them closed.
The review by recognized authorities in the scientific world bolsters the contention of states like Michigan that the Army Corps of Engineers needs to act soon before the Great Lake’s fishing industry and overall ecology are ruined. The Army Corps of Engineers, though, is not even planning to release a report on the carp problem until 2015. Barack Obama has named a “carp czar” to deal with the issue — but the czar, John Goss, says he has no Congressional authority to act. Hopefully these scientific findings will make the carp problem more apparent and urgent for the federal government.