Durbin Applauds President's Appointment of John Goss as Chairman of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

[CHICAGO] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today applauded President Obama’s naming of John Goss to be Chairman of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee as an important step towards increasing coordination between local, state, and federal agencies tasked with keeping the invasive species from entering Lake Michigan. Durbin wrote to the Administration earlier this year calling for the appointment of a Coordinated Response Commander to lead the fight against the spread of Asian carp.


“Since 2003, I’ve been working at the federal level to keep this invasive species away from Lake Michigan. In June, I asked President Obama to appoint a federal Coordinated Response Commander for Asian carp with the knowledge and skills to direct and coordinate multiple federal, state, and private sector efforts. I commend the President for hearing my concerns and making the ecological and economic viability of Lake Michigan a national priority by appointing John Goss, an exceptionally qualified candidate and a longtime friend of the Great Lakes. We have to redouble our efforts and do everything in our power to stop this invasive species from entering Lake Michigan. I am confident that with this step, we have made real progress towards a well-coordinated approach that takes this invasive species very seriously,” Durbin said.


Mr. Goss will be leaving his post as the Director of the Indian Wildlife Federation to head the federal response to combat Asian carp, where he will coordinate the day-to-day efforts of the multiple federal, state, and local agencies involved. Mr. Goss has also served as both the Director of Tourism and the Director of the Department of Natural Resources for the State of Indiana. In order to ensure that all possible resources are leveraged for this fight, Mr. Goss will work with all the relevant federal agencies, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Geologic Service, and the Coast Guard.


Since 2003, Durbin has secured more than $25 million in federal funding to contain the Asian carp and keep the invasive species from entering Lake Michigan. In June, Durbin and ten other Senators whose states border the Great Lakes wrote a letter urging President Obama to appoint a federal Coordinated Response Commander for Asian carp.


“The Asian carp threatens the native fish and natural wildlife of the lake and in turn, the economy of the entire Great Lakes region. If allowed to enter Lake Michigan, the Asian carp have the potential to not only to devastate a national ecological treasure, but to debilitate a multi-billion dollar fishing industry and significantly impair the tourism industry as well,” Durbin said.


The Great Lakes are a significant economic resource, supporting a $7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry. Once Asian carp, which can consume up to 40 percent of their body weight in plankton per day, are established in the Great Lakes, environmental deterioration, including the eradication of other fish species, is unavoidable. Durbin has proposed legislation requiring the US Army Corps of Engineers to conduct study on a new form of containment, called hydrological separation, which will examine how to move canal traffic from one water body to the other without transferring aquatic invasive species. The shipping industry uses the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to move millions of tons of cargo every year through tens of thousands of vessel passages, and the Army Corps estimates that closing the O’Brien lock alone would back-flood 14,000 homes.