State Rep. Holly Hughes has introduced a House Resolution to encourage environmental leaders to continue work to prevent the introduction of new aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes and to consider new research and technologies in that regard.
Rep. Hughes, who chairs the Michigan House Tourism and Recreation Committee, says people, industries and communities depend on their fishing populations and past invasion of sea lampreys, zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species likely cost the Great Lakes region more than $100 million each year.
“This doesn’t just impact the fishing industry,” Hughes said. “Aquatic invasive species are also detrimental to power generation, manufacturing, municipal drinking water systems and, of course, tourism and recreation.”
The lawmaker calls the introduction of new aquatic invasive species “a real and imminent threat” and stated bighead and silver carp are less than 50 miles from Lake Michigan. Officials warn that silver carp could displace native species, disrupt fisheries and injure boaters.
“New research and technologies can enhance action already being taken to prevent and control aquatic invasive species,” Hughes said.
The resolution was distributed to the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the commanders of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division and Mississippi Valley Division, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the other members of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
In March the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study will release their findings of its Brandon Road effort which will assess the viability of establishing a single point to control the one-way upstream transfer of aquatic invasive species from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes basin near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam located in Joliet, Illinois.
Rep. Hughes encourages people to submit ideas for new and innovative solutions to prevent invasive species from entering the Great Lakes on the DNR website. Cash prizes will be awarded for one or more solutions submitted. Submissions must be made by July.