Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement that they will expedite a proposed study of possible solutions to prevent the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes. The decision comes after Klobuchar introduced bipartisan legislation with nine other senators requiring the Corps to submit to Congress an expedited action plan with options for stopping Asian carp from penetrating the Great Lakes. Klobuchar has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Minnesota delegation members including Senator Al Franken and Representatives Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, and Tim Walz to help fight the spread of Asian carp in Minnesota’s waterways. The legislation would kick-start the process to consider closing the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock to help stop the spread of the invasive species, as well as require immediate closure if Asian carp are found.
“The spread of Asian carp in our state’s rivers would have a disastrous ecological impact and harm Minnesota’s recreation and fishing industries that are so important to our state’s economy,” Klobuchar said. “The Corps’ decision to expedite their action plan is a positive step forward in the effort to fight the spread of Asian carp, but more must be done to ensure that we have effective barriers to make sure these invasive species do not harm Minnesota’s waterways.”
Klobuchar, along with Senators Al Franken (D-MN) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), introduced The Stop Invasive Species Act to require the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The bill requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to submit to Congress an expedited action plan with options for stopping Asian carp from penetrating the Great Lakes across 18 possible points of entry. The bill also requires the Army Corps to submit a progress report to Congress and the President within 90 days of the law’s enactment. The full plan would need to be completed within 18 months.
Klobuchar has also introduced The Upper Mississippi Conservation and River Protection Act (Upper Mississippi CARP Act), which would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct feasibility studies on both the temporary and permanent closing of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock within six months and a year of the bill becoming law respectively. The studies would also examine the possibility of using other control methods, such as modifying lock operations and alternative barriers, to stop the spread of Asian carp. The bill would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock based on the findings of these feasibility studies. In addition, the bill would require the lock be closed in the event that Asian carp are found in certain areas closer to the lock until appropriate control measures can be put in place.
The bill also calls for increased interagency cooperation to help root out infestations and prevent the spread Asian carp in Minnesota’s waterways. Specifically, the bill directs the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) at the White House to incorporate the Upper Mississippi River, the Minnesota River, and the St. Croix River into the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework. It would also encourage various government agencies to cooperate with states and local non-profits to research technologies to disrupt the breeding cycle of Asian carp and to remove Asian carp from areas they currently infest.
The legislation is supported by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Audubon Minnesota, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Seasonal Recreational Property Owners, Anglers for Habitat, Clean Water Action, Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations, National Wildlife Federation, Fish & Wildlife Legislative Alliance, Mississippi River Fund, Minnesota Division Izaak Walton League of America, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Trout Unlimited, National Parks Conservation Association, and Friends of the Mississippi River.