Tags: asian | carp | great lakes | barrier | wall

Asian Carp in Great Lakes? Hopefully Not, Now That Barrier Wall Is Complete

Image: Asian Carp in Great Lakes? Hopefully Not, Now That Barrier Wall Is Complete
Construction workers install gates at the Cood Rapids dam on Oct. 20, 2013 in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Richard Tsong-Taatarii)

By    |   Friday, 13 May 2016 12:03 PM

An Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes could be halted by a 10-foot-tall pile of dirt in Indiana, built in Fort Wayne in an effort to keep the invasive species from reaching Lake Erie.

The dirt berm built at the Eagle Marsh is 80 feet wide, 2 miles long, and built specifically to stop the Asian carp, The Journal Gazette reported. Eagle Marsh is the latest battle line to keep the fish from jumping from the Mississippi River Basin to the Great Lakes, where they could potentially threaten the native species.

If the huge Asian carp are able to make the jump into the St. Marys and Maumee rivers, they could swim into Lake Erie and start gobbling up food from native aquatic species there, damaging the lake's commercial and recreational fishing industries, according to the newspaper.

"This is a great example of how a smaller investment up front can save a whole lot of money and heartache after the fact, after damage could have been created," Cameron Davis, coordinator of Great Lakes policy for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, told The Journal Gazette.

The Asian carp — which includes silver, bighead, grass, and black carp from Southeast Asia — are voracious filter feeders and can eat up to 20 percent of their bodyweight per day in plankton and grow to be more than 100 pounds, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

"Plankton are small floating organisms that form the foundation of the aquatic food chain and are vital to native fish," the National Wildlife Federation reported. "It is crucial to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. Once established in an ecosystem they are virtually impossible to eradicate. Adult Asian carp have no natural predators in North America and females lay approximately half a million eggs each time they spawn."

The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel wrote that 177,000 cubic yards of dirt was used to build the berm, which experts believe should keep the Asian carp at bay. The Asian carp species has been identified 20 miles away in Roush Lake in Huntington County.

"Eagle Marsh is a great example of inter-agency efforts coming together to solve an invasive species issue," Brigadier Gen. Richard G. Kaiser, commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told the News-Sentinel. "From the initial fence measure to the permanent structure now in place, this project has been a model of partnership and collaboration."

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An Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes could be halted by a 10-foot-tall pile of dirt in Indiana, built in Fort Wayne in an effort to keep the invasive species from reaching Lake Erie.
asian, carp, great lakes, barrier, wall
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2016-03-13
Friday, 13 May 2016 12:03 PM
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