Over 200 Hunting, Fishing, Conservation Groups Support Plan to Stop Asian Carp

‘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.’


ANN ARBOR, MICH. (February 22, 2019)— Over 200 hunting, angling, conservation and outdoor industry organizations submitted public comments today in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) final plan to improve defenses at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam, near Joliet, Ill., and below the Chicago Area Waterway System, is a chokepoint in the waterway system; the construction of new technology at the dam can help stop the advance of invasive Asian carp and reduce the risk of the fish entering Lake Michigan. The plan proposes a gauntlet of technologies including an electric barrier, a bubble barrier, acoustic deterrent, and a flushing lock to reduce the risk that Asian carp get through while still allowing navigation through the lock. The comment period closes today.


“Hundreds of groups representing millions of hunters and anglers in the Great Lakes region and across the country recognize that invasive species like Asian carp represent a clear and present danger to our nation’s fish, wildlife, water, economy, and way of life,” said Marc Smith, director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation. “This plan is the best opportunity we’ll have to keep them out of the Great Lakes and their connected inland waters. This is a significant part of the national response needed to prevent Asian carp from invading new waters, while working to eradicate and suppress populations of the invasive fish from waters in which they currently reside.”


The organizations warn that Asian carp jeopardize the region’s outdoor recreation economy: a $7 billion fishery; a $16 billion tourism industry; waterfowl production areas that support a hunting economy of $2.6 billion per year; and hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation that generates approximately $18 billion per year.  They also emphasize that the cost estimate of $778 million to bolster defenses at Brandon Road Lock and Dam is an investment worth making to protect the multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry. And given the estimated time for construction, they urge an expedited schedule without any delay by Congress in approving and funding the project:


“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,” the groups write.  “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.”


Last week, a coalition of hunting, fishing, and conservation organizations in the Great Lakes region announced a united effort to support the plan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Ducks Unlimited, the Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Izaak Watlton League of America, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Minnesota Conservation Federation, the National Wildlife Federation, Ohio Conservation Federation, Trout Unlimited and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation formed the Great Lakes Conservation Coalition to unite support for efforts to stop Asian carp.


Photo Credit: Aaron Weed

Scientist: PFAS has been contaminating Michigan population for years

Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press Published 12:28 p.m. ET Nov. 13, 2018 | Updated 5:41 p.m. ET Nov. 13, 2018

GRAND RAPIDS – Angry and frightened.

Those are not words one often hears from a state government scientist.

But that’s how a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official said he felt after realizing — eight years ago — the scope and strength of the state’s problems with PFAS chemicals, which have contaminated water supplies and endangered the health of residents at sites around the state.

“In 2010, I began to feel that I was at the edge of the abyss looking into hell with the weight of the world on my shoulders,” Robert Delaney testified Tuesday at a PFAS meeting in Grand Rapids organized by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich..

However, “my fear and anger turned to conviction and determination,” Delaney said at Grand Valley State University.

Robert Delaney (Photo: Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press)

Delaney, a geologist and veteran DEQ specialist, began raising concerns about the threat of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in 2010. In 2012, he said, he sent former department director Dan Wyant a 93-page report that detailed the threat to Michigan’s drinking water and residents. That report was largely ignored and not made public until 2017.

Delaney testified  he made recommendations in the report about how to limit public exposure to PFAS chemicals, but “I didn’t get any feedback until this year on it.” He said he was “just trying to get somebody to listen,” but Wyant — who resigned in 2016 in the wake of the Flint lead-in-drinking-water crisis — “really didn’t understand environmental science or issues.”

Wyant did not respond to an email and a phone message left at his Cassopolis office.

Despite the inaction on Delaney’s report, Michigan is now seen as a leader in confronting what is a nationwide problem after Gov Rick Snyder issued a November 2017 executive order to create a PFAS action response team.

The PFAS family includes thousands of chemicals that are widely used in products such as firefighting foam, waterproofing, nonstick pans and anti-stain coatings on upholstery. These chemicals don’t break down in the environment and have been linked to cancers, reproductive problems and other health issues.

State officials have warned people not to eat both fish and deer from around the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda Township in northern Michigan after PFAS was found in high levels in a white foam increasingly coating the surface and shores of waters surrounding the base. PFAS drinking water contamination is also a huge issue around Rockford in western Michigan, near a former Wolverine World Wide shoe manufacturing site. High levels also were found this year in drinking water near a paper mill in Parchment, in the Kalamazoo area.

On Tuesday, Delaney stressed he was not speaking for the state or the DEQ, but “as Bob Delaney, state employee, scientist, father and citizen.”

“The current crisis we are facing … has troubled me for years,” Delaney testified. “I believe that we are currently suffering as a people because of a lack of protection of our population, especially the fetus, from dangerous chemicals.”

More:Labs will test Michigan deer for PFAS at hunter’s expense 

More: AG’s Office accused of foot-dragging on PFAS pollution crisis

More: DNR: Do not eat deer taken near contaminated former Wurtsmith base

Delaney said that “until 2010, I was under the false impression that when it came to chemical contamination of the environment that at least America had things under control.”

Delaney began testing drinking water wells at Wurtsmith in 2010. After readings showed extremely high levels of PFAS, he began researching the health risks associated with the chemicals.

“The deeper I got into these issues, the more frightened and angrier I became,” Delaney said in written testimony. “I realized that I had been duped into thinking that we were being protected by our laws. We have been contaminating our population for years.”

On the state’s response to PFAS, Delaney said “nothing is perfect,” but Michigan is one of a few states now “shining a light” on the problem.

Delaney said far more information is needed on the health impact that PFAS and other chemicals are having. He said “understanding how we could get ourselves into such a mess is important,” but more important than pointing fingers is working together, including with business and industry, to find solutions.

“I don’t know how much it will cost to address just the PFAS crisis and whether we can afford it, but I do know that no nation can afford to poison its children.”

Delaney testified that a DEQ work group was formed late in 2010 or early 2011 and it produced a “white paper” — prior to his 2012 report — with recommendations on how to deal with the PFAS problem, but not much happened with those recommendations.

Asked after the meeting why the department didn’t act on those recommendations, Delaney said he can only speculate, but he believes it’s because the Michigan economy was still in the doldrums in 2010 and the state was concerned that businesses were leaving Michigan because of overregulation.

“It wasn’t like the director was some bad person who wanted to poison (people),” Delaney said. “They’re responding to public will.”

Asked whether the DEQ director shouldn’t either understand environmental issues or rely on someone who did understand them. Delaney said: “That’s what you would expect.”

Peters called the meeting to help inform the federal government on how to address the PFAS crisis. The meeting included testimony from state, local and national health and environmental officials, as well as Belmont resident Sandy Wynn-Stelt, who has elevated levels of PFAS in her blood after drinking the water for years near Rockford.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declined to participate in the meeting, though the agency sent a letter, Peters told reporters.

Peters said after the meeting the PFAS issue is urgent and one of the first things that needs to happen is the establishment of nationwide federal standards.

“People can’t wait,” Peters said. “This is not something that we can sit around and wait five years for a standard to be created.”

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.

Photo Credit: USFWS

Draft plan to conserve rare butterflies in Indiana and Michigan available for public review

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Midwest Region
5600 American Boulevard West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437

September 6, 2018

Contact: Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 203, Georgia_Parham@fws.gov
Carrie Tansy 517-351-8375, Carrie_Tansy@fws.gov

Draft plan to conserve rare butterflies in Indiana and Michigan available for public review

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on a draft habitat conservation plan
outlining conservation measures for the Poweshiek skipperling and Mitchell’s satyr, two
federally endangered butterflies found in southern lower Michigan and northern Indiana.
The draft plan is part of a process by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and
the Indiana DNR to obtain an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act that
would allow the agencies to conduct long-term conservation activities to benefit the species even
if some actions resulted in harm to butterflies.

The plan covers specific actions on non-Federal lands in Berrien, Branch, Cass, Jackson, Van
Buren and Washtenaw counties in Michigan and LaGrange County, Indiana, in the range of the
Mitchell’s satyr, and Oakland County Michigan, where the majority of remaining Poweshiek
skipperling populations still exist.

The types of activities covered in the habitat conservation plan include burning, mowing,
vegetation removal, control of non-native species, grazing, seeding, planting and survey work.
Because these activities, while benefiting the two butterflies, may result in harm to a small
number of individuals, the agencies have developed the conservation plan and have applied for
an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act.

The Endangered Species Act provides for incidental take permits for otherwise legal activities
that may result in take (harming, killing or harassing) of federally endangered or threatened
animals. To obtain an incidental take permit, applicants must develop a habitat conservation
plan that provides for long-term conservation of the species. Habitat conservation plans spell out
measures to minimize take of covered species, and steps to mitigate for the loss of any individual animals.

Only activities intended to manage habitat for the benefit of Mitchell’s satyr and Poweshiek
skipperling while minimizing incidental take are included in this draft plan. Additional
mitigation measures will not be required.

The areas covered by the draft habitat conservation plan include about 192 acres of Mitchell’s
satyr habitat in Michigan and Indiana, along with about 50 acres of habitat in Michigan for the
Poweshiek skipperling. The states’ natural resources departments will administer the plan;
private landowners interested in conserving habitat for the butterflies may also participate.
To view the draft habitat conservation plan and application for incidental take permit, go to
Send written comments via U.S. mail to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of
Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437–1458; by
facsimile to 612–713–5292; or by electronic mail to permitsr3es@fws.gov. Deadline for
comments is October 5, 2018.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws/gov.

Connect with our Facebook page at facebook.com/usfwsmidwest, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.