Durbin Expresses Confidence in Coordinated Effort to Prevent Spread of Asian Carp

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after an announcement by the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee that one Bighead Asian carp has been found in Lake Calumet along the Chicago Area Waterway System.

“I am confident that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard are taking the threat of the Asian Carp to the health of the Great Lakes seriously.  Today, their coordinated effort to control the spread of Asian Carp has resulted in a discovery that will be an important tool in identifying the location and movement of this invasive species.

“In Congress, I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure that adequate authorization and funding is available for this effort.   Finding a solution that will protect our lakes, while preserving jobs and promoting economic activity in the region is essential.”
Last month, Durbin joined twelve Senators in asking the Committee on Environment and Public Works to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take several steps to prevent the spread of Asian Carp and other invasive species.  The steps include conducting a study on how to achieve physical separation of the waterways, between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, taking measures to prevent the movement of aquatic nuisance species, purchasing real estate for the barrier system and providing improvements to the electronic barrier to make Barrier I permanent.
Durbin has a long history of working with Congresswoman Judy Biggert (D-IL) to combat the spread of Asian carp, and from 2003 through 2010 they have secured more than $25 million in federal funding to contain the invasive species, and to keep it from entering Lake Michigan. State and federal agencies have already spent millions of dollars to contain the fish, particularly through the electric Asian Carp Barrier project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since 1998, the barrier project has received $41.2 million in federal funding.  In December of last year, Obama Administration launched a $475 million comprehensive Great Lakes initiative which provides a regional approach to controlling invasive species, reducing non-point-source pollution, and cleaning up contaminated sediment.  Of that funding, $78.5 million was allocated to the Draft Asian Carp Control Framework to combat the spread of Asian carp.