Durbin Statement On Discovery Of Asian Carp Near Lake Michigan

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after the discovery of an adult Silver Carp near the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam in the Calumet River:

“I’m deeply concerned by today’s announcement that an adult Silver Carp was discovered a mere nine miles from Lake Michigan.  If this invasive species reaches the Great Lakes, it could cause significant economic losses and irreversible damage to the ecosystem, and threaten the drinking water of 30 million Americans.  Now more than ever, we must redouble our efforts to prevent their spread by ensuring strong federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – which President Trump’s budget eliminates – and by pushing for the completion and release of the Brandon Road Study.”

Senator Durbin has long advocated for a comprehensive approach to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian Carp. In 2010, Durbin called for the appointment of a director for the effort to control the spread of Asian Carp, which resulted in John Goss being named Chairman of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee by then-President Obama.  In 2015, Durbin, alongside Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), requested a study examining several options for containing aquatic invasive species, including Asian Carp, in the Great Lakes.

Durbin has led efforts in the Senate Appropriation Committee to secure federal funding to combat the spread of Asian Carp.  He has helped secure nearly $2 billion in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a cross-agency action program intended to protect the Great Lakes from threats, including invasive species like the Asian carp, and clean up toxic areas of concern.  President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget calls for the elimination of the GLRI, hurting efforts to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. 

In January, Durbin and eleven other bipartisan senators from the Great Lakes region wrote to Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy asking the Army Corps to complete the Brandon Road Study, which will offer recommendations to keep invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.  The study was set to be released on February 28, 2017, but was delayed by the Trump Administration.  In April, Durbin and some of his colleagues wrote to President Trump and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney requesting the Administration release the Army Corps draft proposal to prevent Asian carp from reaching and severely harming the Great Lakes after the White House decided to delay and potentially modify this report.  Durbin has yet to receive a response to this letter.