The following is an editorial from the Mankato Free Press.
MANKATO — It is already too late to keep all Asian carp out of all Minnesota waters.
But that doesn’t mean quick, broad efforts shouldn’t be taken. It’s time for state and federal officials to do what they can to safeguard one of Minnesota’s most valuable assets.
Asian carp, including the infamous “flying carp” people have seen in videos, are an invasive species that moved up the Mississippi River into Minnesota waters. They grow huge and are voracious eaters that can easily do ecological damage to lakes and streams and dramatically reduce native fish populations.
Early this month, Asian carp were caught on the Mississippi near Winona. It’s almost certain the invasive carp have already made their way into the Minnesota River.
Stopping — or at least dramatically slowing — the spread of the carp is necessary before they expand to other rivers and lakes, including premiere fishing lakes such as Mille Lacs and the Great Lakes.
Legislation in Congress, sponsored by Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, would require quick action on at least temporarily closing the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock in Minneapolis to stop the carp’s advance and require more permanent actions based on where carp are found.
State leaders — in a bipartisan manner — have been fairly aggressive in studying and looking at solutions to halt Asian carp, but the federal legislation is needed because of conflicting interest among Upper Midwest states and because the lock and dam system is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps.
For their part, state lawmakers need to pass legislation this session that will help in the effort, by providing funding for targeted bubble or electric barriers and to fund ongoing research and surveillance to battle the invasive species in the future.
Other states and the federal government have been far too slow to stem the movement of Asian carp. Minnesota, with its famed water resources, must be the place to make a firm stand.
Reprinted with permission.
WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?
Write your reaction to this piece in Comments below. Or consider submitting your own Community Voices commentary; for information, email Susan Albright.