Wednesday, July 7, 2010
We don't do a whole lot of fish-blogging over here, because, well, it is the Land Use Prof Blog. But land use law and practice is becoming more and more entwined with water, wetlands, environmental, and ecosystem law and policy at all levels. So some of you might be interested to hear about the impending Carp-Pocalypse: The Great Asian Carp Invasion Begins? from Time.
There's an underwater war underway in the Midwest – an offensive to keep the ravenous Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. On Wednesday, it became clear: The carp are winning.
Late Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported that federal officials have, for the first time ever, discovered a carp swimming beyond the multiple electric barriers that were erected along the Chicago waterways to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes system. A 20-pound bighead carp was caught by a fisherman in Illinois's Lake Calumet, on the South Side of Chicago.
That's beyond the electric fence, and only six miles from Lake Michigan.
For decades, the carp have been making their way up the Mississippi, and then through Illinois rivers and canals that form an artificial link between the Mississippi Basin and the Great Lakes. The problems with this migration stem from the fact that the carp can grow into 4-foot-long, 100-pound monsters who devour 40 percent of their body weight daily. They destroy ecosystems by gorging themselves, and starving out other species.
I've always been interested in the history of canals, commerce, and the human endeavor to connect watersheds across the continent, but it seems there were some unintended downsides.