Asian carp continue to knock on the door of the Great Lakes, based on eDNA sampling results released in January by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The sampling data, collected in October, show the
presence of bighead or silver carp DNA throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). Most alarming is detection of carp DNA very near the lock in downtown Chicago – less than one city block from Lake Michigan. Riverkeeper is working with a group of regional and national Great Lakes partners to pressure the Army Corps of Engineers and Congress to take action to reduce the risk of invasive species moving between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems. The long-term solution is a permanent, ecological separation of these waters. In the short term, however, a bill has been introduced by Rep. Miller and Senator Stabenow of Michigan called the “Defending Our Great Lakes Act (HR 1135 and S 589).” Senator Baldwin has co-sponsored this bill that focuses on short-term, risk-reduction steps, such as designing a channel to be constructed in the approach to the Brandon Road lock on the CAWS that would reduce one-way movement of invasive species such as Asian Carp towards the Great Lakes. We suggested improvements to this bill, as well as continue to advocate for advancing long-term solutions to this issue such as ecological separation. Approximately $500,000 was proposed in the FY16 Federal Budget to the Army Corps to continue work on the Interbasin Study (with several million in carryover from past years), and $29 million was allocated for construction on the Asian Carp dispersal barrier project (e.g., electric barriers).