Today, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced it does not intend to complete a plan by January 2014 to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, as required by the Stop Invasive Species Act, which was introduced by Representative Dave Camp (R-Midland) and signed into law in July. Instead, at that time the Corps will offer a report on the range of options for combating the invasive carp it had planned, prior to passage of the Stop Invasive Species Act, to present to Congress in Fall of 2013. The Corps’ announcement came in a 90 day progress report required by Camp’s bill.
Upon the Corps’ announcement, Camp said: “As Asian carp draw closer to the Great Lakes every day, the Army Corps of Engineers has chosen to work even slower on developing a solution, in direct contravention to the law Congress passed earlier this year. This is unacceptable. The 700,000 people whose jobs depend on the Great Lakes fishery cannot continue to wait on the Corps. I plan to hold the Corps accountable for openly flouting the direction given to it by Congress.”
In 2007, Congress authorized the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), which gave the Corps a 2015 deadline to devise a strategy to prevent Asian carp from entering the Lakes. As part of GLMRIS, the Corps announced in May plans to offer a short list of options on methods to stop the spread of invasive Asian carp in the Fall of 2013. Their intention was to allow Congress to select one of those options so the Corps could focus the remainder of the study on a single course of action.
Rather than waiting until 2013 to provide the Corps with direction, Camp secured passage of the Stop Invasive Species Act, which amended the GLMRIS study, directing the Corps to complete a plan by January 2014 to hydrologically separate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River. Hydrological separation, which is viewed by scientists as the only sure way to permanently prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, was one of the options the Corps planned to include in its 2013 report.