US Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District
231 S. LaSalle St. Suite 1500
ATTN: GLMRIS – Brandon Road Comments
Chicago, IL 60604
Re: Support the Army Corps of Engineers' Tentatively Selected Plan to keep Asian carps out of the Great Lakes
The Invasive Species Centre supports the Tentatively Selected Plan that was identified in the draft study in the Brandon Road Feasibility Study. This plan is essential to prevent the spread of Asian carps into the Great Lakes. Asian carps pose huge ecological and socio-economic risks to the Great Lakes and their connected waterways. Asian carps alter habitats, compete with our native fishes for food and habitat, and can carry disease and parasites. The total value of the Commercial Fisheries in the Canadian Great Lakes during 2011 was over $33 million dollars1. The presence of Asian carps would have multiple impacts to commercial fishing, including:
· Increased competition for food resources with young and mature native species.
· Increased costs and decreased revenues for commercial harvesters.
Asian carps would have negative impacts on social and recreational activities around the Great Lakes, including:
· Recreational fishing
· Swimming opportunities
· Property values
· Water and shoreline aesthetics
The most recent estimates of the value of economic contributions to the Canadian economy of activities in and around the Great Lakes basin is $13,800,0001 (. The ecological impact that Asian carps would have on the Great Lakes, would likely result in significant declines in the industries, jobs, and recreational activities that depend upon them. The decline in recreation related activities could also have a direct impact on Ontario’s reputation as a destination for outdoor recreation tourists, including purchasers of vacation homes.
Along with the many economic and social impacts associated with Asian carps there are numerous ecological impacts, such as:
· Alter habitat, such as wetlands
· Decrease food availability for native species
· Compete for habitat and resources with native species2.
The Tentatively Selected Plan provides a means to keep shipping channels open but also protect these waters from Asian carps. With the recent silver carp found on June 23, 2017, just past the electric barriers, there needs to be strong consideration of this plan. The plan is achievable and the combination of an engineered channel, electric barrier, water jets, complex noise and flushing locks allows these technologies to work together to deter Asian carps rather than relying on one preventative measure. Increasing the number of barriers, increases our chances of keeping Asian carps out of the Great Lakes. The $275 million price tag associated with implementing these measures is minimal when considering the predicted economic value of the Canadian Great Lakes in 2018 is $8.5 billion1. Prevention is the cheapest option long term and should be implemented whenever possible.
The Invasive Species Centre hopes to see the approval and funding of the Tentatively Selected Plan so we can protect the Great Lakes from the damaging effects of Asian carps.