Conservation organizations representing hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins are urging Congress to continue critical funding in FY 2021 to fight invasive Asian carp. This funding will help remove Asian carp from waters they’ve already invaded and help keep them out of the Great Lakes and connected waters.
Recently, the groups sent letters to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and the House Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies requesting funding for federal agencies working to stop the spread of Asian carp. Asian carp decimate native and sport fish populations in waters they invade by reproducing rapidly and consuming food resources at the base of the food chain. In addition, they pose a serious risk to boaters as they jump aggressively out of the water when frightened.
“Asian carp are devastating our waters from Arkansas to Minnesota, impacting iconic bass fisheries in Tennessee and Kentucky, depleting native fish populations in the Mississippi River, and threatening to invade the Great Lakes and its $7 billion annual sport fishery,” said Marc Smith, Great Lakes policy director for the National Wildlife Federation. “These critical investments in the fight to stop Asian carp are absolutely necessary to keep them out of the Great Lakes and start to recover the waters they’ve already diminished.”
The groups included the National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Iowa Wildlife Federation, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, Ohio Conservation Federation, Prairie Rivers Network, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
Specifically, the groups requested that Congress fund:
• Provide at least $5 million in FY2021 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue pre-construction engineering and design of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam plan to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes;
• Provide at least $300 million in FY2021 for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that will help Asian carp control actions;
• Provide at least $47 million in FY2021 for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to continue critical work on fisheries management and prevent invasive grass carp from becoming established in the Great Lakes;
• Provide at least $25 million in FY 2021 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fund the Asian Carp Action Plan to undertake control actions to stop the spread of Asian carp throughout the Mississippi, Ohio River and Tennessee Cumberland River basins; and
• Provide at least $11 million in FY2021 to the U.S. Geological Survey to fund further research into early detection practices and control technologies aimed at stopping the further spread of Asian carp.
“We believe that requesting this critical funding in FY 2021 for the USFWS, USACE, USGS, and GLFC to continue to implement a national coordinated strategy to advance Asian carp control actions is critical to preventing the further spread of Asian carp and other invasive species and is consistent with our collective commitment to protecting the health and sustainability of the Great Lakes, Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee and Cumberland River Basins,” the groups wrote in the letters.