The Asian carp invasion is a well-documented, continually evolving story in the outdoor world.
An invasive species that harms natural ecosystems and native fish species, the Asian carp has proven difficult to stop and continues to spread into new waterways, noted Cleveland.com.
The carp are beginning to get dangerously close to the Great Lakes, one of the most important water ways and fisheries in the United States. The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working to find a way to stop the Asian carp from reaching the water of any of the five Great Lakes.
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While it is agreed that the most likely place that the carp will enter the lakes from is the Chicago Waterway System, the USACE are not ignoring any potential pathways.
One such pathway, one of four in the state of Ohio, is located in the small town of Lodi. State and local officials recently visited the 1,700 acre farm that mainly grows crops of corn and soybeans. The farm’s unique location and the fact that it contains a myriad of streams and dikes are the reasons it could potentially provide Asian carp with a path to Lake Erie.
The farm is located on the sub-continental divide. That means that its creeks and dikes flow both north and south and could potentially link the Ohio River, where Asian carp are already present, with Lake Erie. The southerly flowing waterways create a path to the Ohio River via several other, smaller rivers, while the ones that flow north create a similar path to the tributaries of Lake Erie and Lake Erie itself.
However, these two areas of flowing water do not usually connect on the farm ever since a dike was created to prevent it in 1969. The officials toured the farm to examine the existing dike and determine if a larger one would be necessary.
Although it is unlikely that Asian carp would ever make it to Lake Erie through this pathway, it is good to see that Ohio and the rest of the Great Lakes states affected by the Asian carp are taking every possible scenario seriously.
A permanent shutdown of the connection between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan near Chicago is one proposed way of preventing the carp from reaching the Great Lakes. This plan, one of eight proposed by the USACE, could cost anywhere between $15 and $16 billion. A hefty sum indeed but one that is worth it in order to preserve the ecosystems of the invaluable Great Lakes region.