January 05, 2010

Gillibrand Praises Cuomo For Joining Effort To Stop Spread Of Asian Carp

Senator Urged Temporary Closing of Illinois Locks to Stop Spread of Invasive Species into Great Lakes, New York Waterways

Washington, D.C. – With New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo joining the legal effort to block the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today praised the Attorney General for his effort to prevent the spread of the invasive species into New York waterways. Attorney General Cuomo is joining the Attorneys General of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio in supporting the Michigan Attorney General’s request of an injunction to close a Chicago canal connecting Lake Michigan and the Mississippi water basin.

Just last month, Senator Gillibrand urged the federal government to temporarily close the O’Brien and Chicago Locks as a temporary management solution to stop the spread of Asian Carp making their way into the Great Lakes and toward New York’s waterways, and announced EPW Committee passage of the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, which would prohibit importing and shipment of the invasive species.

“The Asian Carp pose a traumatic and long term threat to the Great Lakes and the enormous economic benefits the Lakes provide to New York and the nation,” Senator Gillibrand. “The Lakes help drive our economy, draw tourism, and provide drinking water for millions of families. The Asian Carp could potentially destroy all of that, disrupting the food chain and disturbing the natural ecosystem permanently. I urged the federal government to temporarily close the O’Brien and Chicago Locks as a temporary management solution to stop the spread of Asian Carp and I am pleased that Attorney General Cuomo has also taken action to protect New York’s waterways and natural habitats from this invasive species.”

In her letter to the Department of the Army, Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and Fish and Wildlife Services last month, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “I encourage you to exercise all available options to ensure this threat is muted.  I urge you to close the O’Brian and Chicago Locks if there is reasonable evidence that Asian Carp have migrated above the barrier, continue the application of fish poison as a temporary management solution, and consider the possibility of permanent hydrological separation of the Great Lakes and the Canal. At a minimum, these efforts should include increased monitoring and sampling to map where Asian Carp are present, continued strategic application of rotenone as a short term management strategy, and changes in the way the locks at CSSC are operated.  I believe that temporarily sealing this waterway as we analyze the situation at hand and decide on a long term management strategy is a reasonable course of action.”

Additionally, the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act that cleared the EPW committee last month would crack down on the importation and shipment of the bighead species of carp to help stop their spread throughout New York waterways, and help restore the natural order of our ecosystem.