Asian Carp: Trick or Treat?

Photo credit: Tony Cartilidge

Will these frightening fish invade the Great Lakes or can they push revitalization of the Chicago area waterways? The Sierra Club’s Chicago group invites you to attend a presentation by Vic Santucci, Asian Carp Manager for Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Aquatic Nuisance Species Program. The evening program entitled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Asian Carp,” will be Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 6:30pm-8:00pm at the Sierra Club office at 70 E. Lake St. Ste 1500.  Learn about Silver and Bighead Carp and the 38 other high risk species posed to invade our waters and plans to stop them.

This program continues the conversation around carp that began in late September after the Illinois Department of Natural Resources teamed up with Chef Parolla from Louisiana and Feeding Illinois (the umbrella food bank organization) for a carp-tasting event. The event was held for media and local politicians to help spread the word that carp is both delicious and nutritious. However, eating them isn’t the only way to beat them.

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) is in the final stages of their report “Envisioning a Chicago Area Waterway System for the 21st Century.” The GLC held several public meetings in Chicago and Indiana addressing issues and concerns from citizens about the effects of separating the Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes basin. This hydrological separation would close the artificial connection created in the 1900s when the Chicago River flow was reversed preventing the transfer of aquatic invasives between the two basins.

The GLC is working with a number of organizations including the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Chicago to discuss how hydroseparation could be incorporated into infrastructure improvements that are already taking place in Chicago. Such a separation should work to improve the movement of goods and people, water quality and stormwater management in addition to preventing the transfer of aquatic invasive species. The GLC has proposed several options for hydroseparation and the report will be released in January.

For more information regarding Asian Carp and other invasive species invading our waters, we encourage you once again to come out to the Sierra Club’s Chicago Group’s program “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Asian Carp.” Learn how you can become actively involved in our efforts to prevent this crisis from happening to our waters. To RSVP for the program or to volunteer with the Chicago group, please contact Tess Wendel at Tess.Wendel@sierraclub.org

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