Asian carp

Conservation Groups Urge Congress to Fund Efforts to Stop Asian Carp

Asian carp jumping from the water at Barkley Dam. Photo courtesy of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (March 3, 2020) – 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.

Yesterday, the groups sent a letter 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:

• 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 letter.

The full text of the letter is available for download here.

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Contact: Drew YoungeDyke, National Wildlife Federation, youngedyked@nwf.org, 734-887-7119

Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.

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Administration Continues Attacks on Clean Water Act With New Rule

“Since the Administration refuses to protect our waters, we have no choice but to ask the courts to require the EPA to follow the law.”

Contact: Lacey McCormick, National Wildlife Federation, McCormick@NWF.org, 512-610-7765

WASHINGTON (January 23, 2020) – The EPA is set to release a final rule reducing the scope of waters protected from pollution, destruction, and degradation by the Clean Water Act. This rule would leave streams – and even some rivers – federally unprotected that have been covered since the law was first passed in 1972. It would also remove protections for approximately half of the nation’s wetlands.

“At a time when communities across the country are desperately trying to clean up polluted waters and one-third of wildlife species are at a heightened risk of extinction, this misguided rule places our drinking water, our wildlife and our nation’s way of life further at risk,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

“Since the Administration refuses to protect our waters, we have no choice but to ask the courts to require the EPA to follow the law. We simply cannot afford to lose protections for half of our remaining wetlands, nor can we take any unnecessary chances with our drinking water.”

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The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Photo Credit: Maria Overlay

Take Action for Wildlife

Friends,

A package of bills that could greatly improve the future of America’s wildlife—and the lands and waters we share with them—just passed the Senate. Now, we need your voice to ensure it passes out of the House and is signed into law.

I can’t overstate what a great win for wildlife and our wild public lands and waters it will be to get this package of public lands bills signed into law.

Please send your member of the House of Representatives a message right now urging them to vote YES on the public lands package to revive and make permanent America’s best program for protecting the lands and waters we share with wildlife.

::TAKE ACTION HERE::

That program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, provides protections for everything from huge swaths of habitat for grizzly bears and mountain goats to support for parks and outdoor spaces that nurture butterflies in our cities. It has touched the lives of people in every county in this country. With this vote, it will be a permanent program for the first time ever.

And if that’s not historic enough, it is just one bill in the package of over 100 public lands bills that the House will be voting on. These bills will protect over a million acres of wilderness, hundreds of miles of wild and scenic designations for rivers, and a suite of bills for the sporting conservation community that’s been over a decade in the making.

This package of conservation bills is a bright and healthy light during a divisive time—proving that protecting our nation’s wildlife and wild public lands and waters has a remarkable power to heal and bring people together.

Please do one thing to secure this win for wildlife. Click here to send a message to your Member of Congress.

Ask them to support the public lands package. Let them know they will be making history by casting a vote to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Ask for their support to protect over a million acres of our wild public lands and hundreds of miles of our waterways.

We’re so close to a historic win for wildlife and our wild public lands and waters, and you can help ensure it. The vote is happening within days. Please take action now!

Thank you so much.

With gratitude,

Tracy Stone-Manning
Senior Advisor for Public Lands
National Wildlife Federation Action Fund

Take Action to Stop Asian Carp

To sign your conservation club onto this regional letter, please send an email to National Wildlife Federation’s Marc Smith before Feb 25, 2019. msmith@nwf.org, Marc Smith, Director of Conservation Partnerships, National Wildlife Federation, 734-887-7116

SIGN UP FOR IWF’s ASIAN CARP EMAIL UPDATES HERE

(UPDATE 1/4/19) Please be informed that the Army Corps of Engineers has extended the comment deadline for Brandon Road by 60 days to Feb. 25, 2019. Due to the government shutdown, this extension is not yet reflected on the federal register, but is expected to be announced soon.


***Begin Letter***

December XX, 2018

Andrew Leichty PMP
Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
ATTN: GLMRIS-Brandon Road EIS
Clock Tower Building
P.O. Box 2004
Rock Island, IL 61204-2004

Dear Andrew,

Please accept these comments submitted on behalf of the undersigned organizations as well as our hundreds of thousands of hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreation enthusiast members across the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins and nationwide, regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Final GLMRIS Brandon Road Report and EIS (GLMRIS BR Report).

The undersigned organizations appreciate the opportunity to comment. While we support the GLMRIS BR Report, we have some additional comments, which are highlighted below.

Threat

The Great Lakes are a phenomenal natural resource, a network of five inland seas that span 94,000-square miles of surface area, contain 20 percent of all surface freshwater on the planet and comprise the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. The five lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario —provide drinking water for 35 million people.  In addition, the Great Lakes support a $7 billion fishery; a $16 billion tourism industry; waterfowl production areas that support a hunting economy of $2.6 billion/year; and hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation that generates approximately $18 billion/year.  Combined, these represent a massive outdoor economy that is an integral part of North America’s cultural and outdoor heritage.

Today, we are dealing with the worst crisis to face the Great Lakes since the colonization of the lakes by zebra and quagga mussels: the potential invasion of Asian carp.  Once the invasive carp invade the lakes, there is no turning back; the damage will be done.  Indeed, the urgent need for action is only amplified by the live capture of a silver carp in June 2017 just 9 miles from Lake Michigan on the Lake-side of the electrical deterrents.  Just months earlier, a U.S. Geological Service report estimated that Asian carp would have ample food to survive the near-shore areas of the Great Lakes and their connected river mouth and embayment’s.  Thus, risking the connecting inland streams, rivers and lakes.  We have no choice; we have to take action now to stop the Great Lakes’ invasion by Asian carp.  And we have to take action quickly, while there is still time to save the lakes, and the fish and wildlife that call them home.

Support of the GLMRIS BR Report

Our organizations are supportive of the GLMRIS BR Report, as this plan is the best near-term option for getting additional defenses in place to prevent Asian carp from establishing a population in Lake Michigan and our Great Lakes. This plan includes a gantlet of technologies (acoustic fish deterrent, engineered channel, electric barrier, and a flushing lock) to prevent Asian carp from moving past the lock, while maintaining navigation for shipping.  In addition, we are supportive of removing the water jet measure and replacing it with an air bubble curtain.

Cost Increase

The estimated cost of the project has increased from approximately $275 million to $777.8 million.  This increase is included for the expedited implementation strategy.  We do understand that a large portion of this increase ($317 million and approximately 66%) is estimated as contingency costs.  Given this, the actual cost of this project could be closer to $460 million.  While this is a significant increase in cost, this pales in comparison to the economic risk if Asian carp invade the Great Lakes. Moreover, and as we indicated in the above section, the socio-economic impact of an Asian carp invasion is worth this increased investment.

Implementation Strategies

Given the extreme urgency and the continued threat that Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes, we encourage the Corps to proceed with the expedited strategy to implement this project.

ANS Research and Technology Development

We are glad to see the plan utilize the approach channel and lock as an opportunity to evaluate and optimize ANS controls and maximize the efficiency of the applied technologies.  In addition, we are encouraged that the engineered channel provides a platform for future control technologies.

As such, we request that the Corps continue to support and utilize the most updated research on technology control options to deter and reduce the risk of invasive species transferring between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.  Given the urgency and high risk of Asian carp and other ANS getting into Lake Michigan, research and development on non-structural and structural control technologies must continue.  Additional federal investments moving forward will help inform the Corps as it progresses with the current GLMRIS BR Report and in identifying a two-way solution either at Brandon Road Lock and Dam or at other locations throughout the CAWS.

Non-structural actions must continue

We continue to applaud the current actions from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Service, and other state and federal agencies in utilizing and deploying aggressive harvest activities along the Des Plaines River and other areas in the CAWS in order to ‘fish down’ the population of Asian carp below the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. We are encouraged to see in this plan that non-structural actions will continue under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  This continued action will help reduce the leading edge populations of Asian carp adjacent to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our organizations thank the Corps for the opportunity to submit comments.  Preventing Asian carp and other invasive species from transferring between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River is an urgent matter that demands immediate action.  We thank the Corps for its efforts in studying ways to address this critical situation.  We encourage you to consider our comments and move as fast and efficiently as possible to finalize this plan and submit to Congress on schedule.  We need stronger controls in place now in order to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from continuing to swim closer to – and eventually into – the Great Lakes.  Without firm and swift action to stop the further movement of Asian carp and other invasive species, the future of hunting, fishing and our outdoor heritage in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River region is at risk.

Sincerely,

American Sportfishing Association

Anglers of the Au Sable

Antigo Chapter Trout Unlimited (WI)

Austin Chapter 10 of the Izaak Walton League of America
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.)

The Bass Federation of Michigan

Bush Lake Chapter Izaak Walton League of America
Cass County Chapter of the Minnesota Izaak Walton League of America
Columbiana County Federation of Conservation Clubs (OH)

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

Conservation Federation of Missouri
Ducks Unlimited

Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America

Fly Fishers International

Fishing League Worldwide

Great Lakes Council of Fly Fishers International

Hoosier Coho Club

Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited

Illinois Division of the Izaak Walton League of America

Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton League of America

Indiana Sportsmen Roundtable

Indiana Wildlife Federation
Iowa Wildlife Federation
Izaak Walton League of America
Lake Erie Charter Boat Association

Marine Retailers of the Americas

Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation

Michigan Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association
Michigan Trout Unlimited
Michigan United Conservation Clubs

Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation

Minnesota Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Minnesota Conservation Federation
Minnesota Division Izaak Walton League of America
Minnesota Trout Unlimited
Montmorency County Conservation Club (MI)

National Marine Manufactures Association

National Professional Anglers Association

National Wildlife Federation

New Alsace Conservation Club (Indiana)

New York B.A.S.S. Nation

New York Trout Unlimited

Northwest Indiana Steelheaders

Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association

Ohio B.A.S.S. Nation

Ohio Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Ohio Conservation Federation
Ohio Council of Trout Unlimited

Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation

Owatana Chapter of Izaak Walton League of American (MN)

Pennsylvania B.A.S.S. Nation

Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited
Silvertip Productions (Ohio)
Trout Unlimited
United Northern Sportsmen (Minnesota)

W.J. McCabe (Duluth) Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America

Wabasha Chapter, MN Division, Izaak Walton League of America
Wild Rivers Chapter, Trout Unlimited (WI)

Wisconsin B.A.S.S. Nation

Wisconsin Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Wisconsin Division of the Izaak Walton League of America

Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs

Wisconsin Trout Unlimited
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

IWF Action Alert – Here it comes again!

Canned Hunting Bill HB1453 has passed out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is headed to the floor

The bill may be heard as early as April 1st, 2015. Please call or write your Senator and give your opinion. To find your senator click here.

To read our fact sheet, click here.

IWF and the vast majority of hunters and conservationists OPPOSE canned hunting.

  • Captive deer shooting preserves violate ethical standards.
    • Not fair chase, not ethical hunting.
    • Wildlife are owned by the public for the benefit of all.
  • Captive deer shooting preserves threaten wildlife health.
    • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease similar to mad cow disease that quickly spreads among captive herds and is transmitted by animal to animal contact or animal to soil contact.  There is no live animal test for CWD, no cure for CWD, and death is always the result.
    • Bovine tuberculosis outbreaks would jeopardize the Indiana beef producer industry.
    • The interstate transportation of deer to hunting preserves contributes to spread of disease.  Importation of captive raised deer should be banned.
  • Captive deer shooting preserves threaten Indiana’s economy and put taxpayers at risk.
    • Wild deer hunting in Indiana contributes over $300 million annually and supports >1600 jobs.
    • Taxpayers are liable for captive deer herds condemned due to disease and the cleanup of property.  Hunters and anglers license fees are spent to fund State monitoring and management of CWD.

With your help, this bill can be stopped.  It’s bad for wildlife and bad for Hoosiers.

Please share this information with others who are concerned about wildlife.