Great Lakes Conservation Coalition formed to stop Asian Carp

More groups are coalescing to keep Asian Carp from breaching the Great Lakes.

This time, it's several conservation groups represeting hunters and anglers banding together to create the Great Lakes Conservation Coalition. Charged with supporting plans to keep the invasive species out of the basin, the group will further its efforts to remove them from any existing waters they inhabit as well.

Posing a threat to the ecosystems that revolve within the Great Lakes, millions of dollars have been spent in efforts to keep the fish out. Making up several sub-species, including bighead, silver, grass and black carp, officials worry about their potential to disrupt fisheries and dominate the food sources that feed other animals in the system.

While some species are knocking on the Lake Michigan door through the Chicago Area Waterway Sytem, other species like grass carp are already in the western Lake Erie basin.

“The Great Lakes and associated waterbodies are key resources to continental waterfowl populations, and so the presence of invasive grass carp in western Lake Erie represents an immediate threat to the integrity of the lake ecosystem in a region where local economies rely heavily on hunting and birding activities,” said Gildo Tori, acting chief policy officer for Ducks Unlimited in a press release.

An asian carp intrusion worries officials due to the estimated $11.2 billion impact the Michigan United Conevation Club says sportsman and women provide to the state. 

The fish has already created problems for communities south of the Great Lakes, in the Mississippi River basin. Bass fisheries in Kentucky and Tennessee have already been impacted.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to rebuild the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, just south of Chicago as a hopeful remedy to keeping the invasive species at bay.