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US Senate includes $11 million to protect Great Lakes from Asian carp

Posted 9 August 2018 at 1:12 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: A kayaker paddles on Lake Ontario off the shore of Barker on Saturday evening.

Press Release, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Interior Appropriations bill that just passed the Senate includes $11 million in federal funding to help protect the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp.

The funding would be provided to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices and would be used to control Asian carp in the Mississippi and Ohio River Basins to prevent them from entering the Great Lakes.

“The invasive and destructive Asian carp are no friend of the Great Lakes, and we need to do all we can to keep them out and protect our wildlife and Great Lakes,” said Senator Schumer. “Asian carp create a tremendous burden on any ecosystem they invade, and I’m glad to see funding moving forward to keep our waterways safe and habitable for New York’s wildlife. I vow to keep fighting for this funding until it is signed into law, to protect the precious resources that are our Great Lakes.”

“The Great Lakes are some of New York’s most precious natural resources, and we need to do everything possible to protect them against the imminent threat of Asian carp,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “I fought for this critical funding to be included in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill so that we can help keep New York’s waterways and natural habitats free from this invasive species, and I am pleased to announce that we are one step closer to getting this funding signed into law.”

The economy and the ecosystem of the entire Great Lakes region are at risk because of the imminent threat of invasive Asian carp. Current efforts to control the spread of Asian carp are located in the Chicago and Ohio River Basins, where the Mississippi River Basin links to the Great Lakes.

Asian carp are large, prolific, invasive species that can weigh up to 100 pounds and grow up to four feet long. They consume vast amounts of food, disrupting the food chain that supports native fish. This aggressive invasive species could devastate the Great Lakes ecosystems, which provide drinking water to over 30 million Americans, support a $7 billion fishing industry and a $15.5 billion boating industry, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Schumer and Gillibrand helped secure the $11 million in federal funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices in the Senate’s recently passed Interior Appropriations bill. Earlier this year, Gillibrand pushed for this funding, and last month, Gillibrand also announced the reintroduction of the bipartisan Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act, legislation that would protect New York’s natural resources from invasive species by giving the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) greater authority to regulate nonnative species and prohibit them from being imported or sold in the United States.

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