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Beavah

Fishy Law & Politics

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Illinois is a neighboring Great Lakes state.

 

From the Chicago Breaking News website:

The state of Michigan filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to force Illinois to close Chicago-area locks to try to stop the advancement of invasive Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

 

Cox's suit names the state of Illinois, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the locks and dams, has spoken publicly about closing them in the hopes of saving the region's $7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry.

 

"Stopping Asian carp is an economic and environmental necessity for Michigan," Cox said in a statement. "The Great Lakes are an irreplaceable resource. Thousands of jobs are at stake and we will not get a second chance once the carp enter Lake Michigan.

 

"The actions of Illinois and federal authorities have not been enough to assure us the Lakes are safe. That's why the waterways must be shut down until we are assured that Michigan will be protected."

 

The suit, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, asks for the following actions:

 

Closure of the locks at the O'Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works;

Operation of the sluice gates at the Wilmette Pumping Station, the O'Brien Lock and Dam, and the Chicago Controlling Works in a manner that will prevent carp from passing into Lake Michigan;

Creation of new barriers to prevent carp from escaping from the Des Plaines River into the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal during flood events, and from getting to Lake Michigan through the Grand and Little Calumet Rivers;

Comprehensive study of the Chicago waterway system to define where and how many carp are in these waters, and to eradicate them;

Action to permanently separate these waterways from the Great Lakes.

 

Cox went directly to the Supreme Court because it handles disputes between states.

 

Michigan is seeking to reopen a case dating back more than a century, when Missouri filed suit after Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River and began sending sewage-fouled Lake Michigan water south toward the Mississippi River.

 

After that issue was resolved, several Great Lakes states -- including Michigan --- renewed the suit with a new complaint: Chicago's diversion of water away from the basin was harming the lakes by lowering water levels.

 

Beavah - Oh, yah, and da original SCOTUS ruling went against Illinois. Please enlighten us.

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I want to correct a mis-statement made earlier by another post. Michigans re-introduction of COHO salmon in the mid 1960s was not to solely prop up a sports fishing industry, but to control the out of control population of the non native fish, the alewive. The alewives competed with the native perch and walleye for the same food source. If you were just about any beach in Michigan at that time you will remember the yearly die-offs of millions of stinking alewives. We use to have huge bonfires on the beach and burn them by the bushel. The use of the COHO is a success on many fronts. (cept they taste too fatty!)

 

My solution to the Asian carp is to put a bounty on them. At $5 a head Im sure our sport minded folk could put a serious dent in the population and it would provide a nice support package to many.

 

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Beavah - Oh, yah, and da original SCOTUS ruling went against Illinois. Please enlighten us.

 

"The plaintiffs are entitled to have the diversions stopped by injunction, to be so framed as to accord a reasonable time within which the Sanitary District may provide other means for sewage disposal... until the sewage shall be entirely disposed of thereby, whereupon the injunction shall become final and complete"

- Wisconsin v. Illinois, 278 U.S. 368-369.

 

B

 

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From Lisabob: "Interesting idea. Who should pay this bounty? I think Illinois should pay for it."

 

A reasonable statement except we in Illinois are stuck with these things because fish farms and water treatment districts in the south imported them, then lost control of them during flooding in the 90s (http://dnr.wi.gov/news/mediakits/mk_carpcontrol.asp#a2).

 

Maybe instead of a bounty we need to create a market, cat food anybody?

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Not a comment about the case but the comment about Coho tasting fatty. it must because they're in fresh water. Out here they're in salt water and they're fine eating fish. Even the landlocked lake coho in Flathead Lake, Mt. and up in BC's lakes are prized and fine eating.

 

I come from commercial salmon salmon fishing family both in Alaska and the Salish Sea (Puget Sound and BC waters, Salish Sea the new designation approved by US and BC naming authorities.)

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A reasonable statement except we in Illinois are stuck with these things because fish farms and water treatment districts in the south imported them

 

Yah, this is da real issue, eh?

 

There should be much, much, much tighter and stricter regulation on importing and holding live critters like this. With some criminal and civil penalties attached that have real teeth.

 

B

 

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The first attempt to introduce Chinook Salmon into the Great Lakes was 1873.

 

The first attempt to introduce Coho Salmon into Lake Michigan was 1933.

 

Alewives didn't appear in Lake Michigan until 1949.

 

The Sea Lamprey decimated the local, native fish that were able to keep the population of alewives down during the 50's. In 1959, the commercial take of alewives was 220,000 lbs. With the extirpation of Lake Trout from Lake Michigan, the population of alewives exploded, crowding out the small native fish like chubs and Lake Herring. By 1967, the commercial harvest of alewives was 41.9 million pounds.

 

Coho was re-introduced to Lake Michigan in 1966, the year before the alewives really messed up the beaches. They were introduced to revive the sports fishery in the lake. They were introduced not as alewive control but because there was a ready supply of food in the form of alewives and biologists thought there was a very good chance that the reintroduction would be successful this time. Because of the food source, it was. Because of the success of the Coho trial, more Coho were released, as well as Chinook Salmon and Steelhead. Most were raised in hatcheries and released before the alewive explosion became a public relations challenge. Again, they were released to boost the sports fishery - and biologists thought it would be successful because of the abundance of alewives in the lake. Of course, when the alewives became a problem, there was a serendipitous solution - fish that would eat alewives had been released - and now it could be said we were doing something about it - so now we get entrys in Wikipedia (which can never be wrong) saying Chinook Salmon were introduced to control the alewive problem. The reality is Chinook Salmon and Coho Salmon were able to be successfully introduced to rehabilitate the sports fishery because there were alewives in the lake, and the reason they were introduced was to rehabilitate the sport fishery.

 

The state of the Lake Michigan fishery is still not a native ecology. Though there are larger numbers of Lake Perch, and Lake Trout have been reintroduced with a small margin of success, the majority of fish in Lake Michigan are still Alewives, Smelt (also a non-native), Coho, Chinook (King) and Steelhead. Coho, Chinook and Steelhead are still mostly stocked year after year (there is some natural breeding of salmon - but not enough to sustain any sort of sport fishery) and Lake Michigan is considered a "Put and Take" sport fishery (we put the fish in the lake, when you catch the fish you take it with you) and catch and release isn't really an option - most charters won't even consider it.

 

Since 1967, there have been other alewive "explosions" that ended up with beaches full of alewives, despite the millions of salmon released into the lake each year. It appears that alewives have natural population explosions and declines on a 4 year cycle probably having more to do with numbers of fish available for spawning in a year, and the washing of alewives on beaches is likely the result of sudden and unexpected changes in lake temperature during spawning season damaging a fish that is not physiologically adapted to living in freshwater.

 

 

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Interesting write up by another person who actally lived through the alewive explosion.

 

"Profanity was not unknown as Lake Michigan shoreline residents and visitors reacted in 1967 to the nauseating stench from millions of dead alewives. But a four letter word few of them used - or even knew - was about to liven the lake lexicon and brighten its future: Coho! The alewife was the second of two Atlantic Ocean infiltrators which caused problems in the Great Lakes. The first was the parasitic sea lamprey, which had been the prime villain in the elimination of once-abundant Lake Michigan trout, and near elimination of whitefish. The trout and whitefish were natural predators which kept the populations of smaller fish in check. With the predators gone, smaller fish flourished. Alewives, ignored by lampreys because of their size, enjoyed a population explosion after the lampreys wiped out their natural enemies in the 1950s. Alewives comprised 17 percent of the Lake Michigan fish population in 1962. By 1967,the figure was 90 per cent - an estimated 175 billion alewives then in the lake. That's when the big die-off and subsequent stench occurred. The exact reason for the die-off is not known. It was blamed on everything from lightning to old age to overactive thyroid glands. Other explanations included sudden change in water temperature, lake pollution, lack of oxygen, starvation and overpopulation. Whatever the reason, the shoreline suddenly was a stinking mess, covered with millions of alewives. The obnoxious odor was too much even for those scavengers of the lake shores, the seagulls, who temporarily sought more pleasant 1ocales. Officials reacted to the outcries of residents and visitors. Congressmen called for studies, at Michigan City a crew of 108 Job Corpsmen established headquarters for a four-day shore cleanup, and the mayor even suggested the use of a flamethrower to cope with the alewife beach assault. But the alewife, easily public enemy number one to inhabitants of Lake Michigan communities, was to be a prime participant in a dramatic project to revive the lake as a sport fishery. That's where the coho came in. Researchers had found a lamprey-killing chemical in time to save the trout in Lake Superior. Before embarking on a trout-restocking program in Lake Michigan, fisheries officials logically decided to bring the lampreys under control. The only problem ensuing from that decision was that it gave alewives more predator-free time to feed, breed and multiply. Even before the alewife die-off occurred, visionary Michigan fisheries people had flown a million coho salmon eggs from Oregon to Michigan hatcheries to try what no one had yet done: establish a large-scale salmon fishery entirely in fresh water.

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Well, Michigan's initial gambit fails. Court issued a once-sentence denial of the preliminary injunction without comment.

 

Continues da tradition of this court to dodge issues whenever possible. Be interestin' to see if they reopen the old case or try to punt on that as well.

 

Michigan also needs to take some time to refine its argument.

 

Beavah

 

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On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court ruled that it will not force Illinois to shut locks that other states say could allow invasive Asian carp into Lake Michigan. Hours later, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that they had found Asian carp DNA in Lake Michigan.

 

Michigan Governor calls for a White House summit (doesn't she know he's from Chicago?).

 

http://www.stopasiancarp.com/

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Gettin' juicier.

 

What kind of amphibious craft does da Michigan National Guard have?

 

Yeh really want to have some fun, have the governor of Michigan order the guard to blockade the port of Chicago. Or just issue a call to Michigan boaters to do it. Be even more fun if da Province of Ontario vessels participated. Raise all kinds of issues of interestin international law issues. Now that would get SCOTUS' attention :).

 

Da risk of escalation as much as da risk of harm is why courts should not dodge issues of import.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Army Corps of Engineers Announcement

http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/pao/Release_eDNA_19Jan2010.pdf

 

Following last week's Supreme Court decision not to force action on the Asian carp migration, Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan introduced legislation Wednesday to force Chicago to close locks, erect barriers, and take other emergency measures to prevent the spread of the invasive fish to Lake Michigan.

 

Camp's bill, HR 4472 ("Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today," or CARP ACT), would force Illinois to take the measures that the Supreme Court let it skip, particularly closing the locks that allow water from the Chicago River into Lake Michigan, and taking aggressive measures to "prevent the spread of Asian Carp through the use of fish toxicant, commercial fishing and netting, harvesting, and other means necessary."

 

The bill also contains language designed to minimize the commercial impact on Chicago and the rest of the state of Illinois, although state and local officials are unlikely to support the measures, as they predict that closing the locks will have a harshly deleterious impact on the shipping industry. The Huffington Post

 

 

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