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E-M:/ GLU Habitat Report

Below is the Habitat newsletter of Great Lakes United
reporting on a proposed plan of concern regarding the
Army Corps of Engineers (which is of interest because
of their involvement in great lakes matters).   Also,
an interesting article about finding a snakehead fish
in a Wisconsin River.


Date: Fri, 03 Oct 2003 14:47:46 -0400
To: Jen@glu.org
From: Jennifer Nalbone <jen@glu.org>
Subject: Habitat Watch #285
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Habitat Watch # 285
Great Lakes United
September 21-September 27, 2003

Invasive snakehead fish found in Wisconsin

A giant snakehead--an invasive, carnivorous, land-scuttling fish, native to Asia-- has been found in southern Wisconsin's Rock River. A year ago, this invader found its way into the nations eye after extensive media attention covered efforts of wildlife officials who detected and killed six adult and over 1,000 juvenile northern snakehead, a close relative to the giant snakehead, that were discovered to be breeding in a Maryland pond.

The detection of the 2-foot-long invader by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources marks the first time the giant snakehead has been found in state waters. The DNR searched for additional giant snakehead in the area, found none, and said the fish was likely an aquarium pet, and released into the wild after outgrowing its aquarium. Releasing aquarium pets into the wild is an illegal activity in Wisconsin.

Fish managers are saying that this is a wake-up call. It's not known whether the giant snakehead would be able to survive the cold Wisconsin winters, but nobody wants to find out. Giant snakehead fish have no natural predator, threaten to damage native fish populations, and introduce new diseases. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to cut ties with Congress and operate like a business

The military commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers, wants to perform an overhaul of the much criticized and mistrusted federal agency. The draft plan "USACE 2012" would increase the military's role in reviewing and authorizing water projects and decrease the role of civilian employees and Congress. Critics say the plan was derived out of "supreme arrogance."

The plan proposes dividing the Corps into eight "regional business centers." Each business center would promote a service such as: navigation, flood control, recreation, and environmental restoration. The current Corps is in theory operating as a public agency- where project and construction requests must be requested by Congress and must meet a series of cost-shares and oversights. The new military-dominated business centers would be a huge change in Corps operations, where the agency would promote projects, solicit business and make decisions internally.

The overhaul is being proposed at a time when the Corps gathers little public trust and has been criticized by lawmakers, the General Accounting Office, the National Academy of Sciences, internal Pentagon investigators and the Office of Management and Budget for poorly planned projects and falsified economic analyses. In addition to recent backtracking after expansion planning in the Great Lakes Navigation System review drew deep and unified binational public opposition, the agency has been forced to suspend work on deepening the Delaware River, dredging the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and restart a huge Mississippi River study after a whistleblower revealed and the US Army Inspector General verified that numbers were changed to create economic justification for billion-dollar lock expansions.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has already sent a letter to J.P. Woodley, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, asking that he intercede and put the Corps plan, slated to take effect October 1st, on hold. PEER says that the proposed plan contradicts Bush Administration policies, breaks congressional commitments, and violates Army guidance that the Corps not become a project promoter. PEER also says that the proposed plan does not address any of the criticisms raised of the Corps but would make it even harder to monitor Corps activities.

An article from Washington Post can be found at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54802-2003Sep23.html The PEER response, including a link to USACE 2012, a full critical analysis of the Corps plan, and the PEER letter to Mr. Woodley is at: http://www.peer.org/press/396.html

 Great Lakes United's Habitat and Biodiversity Task Force produces Habitat Watch with support from the George Gund Foundation and GLU coalition members. The task force is committed to protecting natural areas, wildlife, and strong conservation laws across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem. To join the coalition, subscribe, or send stories, contact GLU at: (716) 886-0142; fax: (716) 886-0303; or email: jen@glu.org. Past issues of Habitat Watch can be found at: http://www.sustain.org/Bulletins/index.cfm

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039 
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com