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GLIN==> Great Lakes Governors and Ministers urged to share cost of electric fish barrier



Great Lakes Governors and Ministers urged to share cost of electric fish
barrier

In a letter to Governor Bob Taft, chair of the Council of Great Lakes
Governors, the International Joint Commission (IJC) urged the governors and
ministers of the Great Lakes states and provinces to meet an urgent U.S.
$1.8 million funding shortfall to complete the construction of a permanent
electric barrier in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal. The barrier is
needed to prevent the imminent introduction of Asian carp to the Great Lakes
and the potential destruction of the estimated $4.5 billion annual sport and
commercial fishery.
 
"Failure to prevent the introduction of this invader may result in severe
economic and ecological damage to the Great Lakes ecosystem, perhaps even
exceeding the damage caused by previous introductions of the sea lamprey and
zebra mussel," state IJC Canadian and U.S. co-chairs Herb Gray and Dennis
Schornack, in the May 21, 2004 letter which can be found at Recent Press
Releases at www.ijc.org.
 
Using a federal/nonfederal cost-share process, the U.S. Government has
already contributed $5 million toward the project, and the State of Illinois
has contributed $1.7 million as the local cost-share partner.  Due to
changes to improve the barrier design and unanticipated costs, an additional
$1.8 million is needed to complete construction of the permanent electric
barrier by a September 30, 2004 deadline. 
 
"Specifically, we urge all the governors and the provincial ministers to
join their colleague in Illinois and the federal government in fully funding
the construction of a permanent barrier.  ... Illinois cannot serve as the
single rubber stopper at the bottom of the Great Lakes basin," the letter
states.
 
Two species of Asian carp that are within 50 miles of Lake Michigan could
soon gain access to the Great Lakes through the Chicago Ship and Sanitary
Canal. A temporary, experimental electric barrier built by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers has served as the last line of defense in preventing the
movement of Asian carp into the Great Lakes; however, the temporary barrier
is near the end of its expected lifespan and some of its components are
failing. 
 
The International Joint Commission was established by the Boundary Waters
Treaty of 1909 to help the United States and Canada prevent and resolve
disputes over the use of the waters they share. Under the Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement, the IJC also advises the governments of the two countries
on measures needed to restore and maintain the integrity of the waters of
the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.
 
John Nevin,                           Washington
(202) 256-1368
Fabien Lengelle,                   Ottawa
(613)-995-0088

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