The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Separation of the Mississippi and Great Lakes Water System

The alarms are finally going off regarding the environmental destruction caused by invasive species. Six attorneys general in the Midwest have called for a coalition to demand the separation of the Mississippi River system from the Great Lakes water system.

From the AP news story:

"...the officials invited colleagues in 27 other states to join a lobbying campaign to separate the two watersheds, contending they have as much to lose as the Great Lakes do from migration of aquatic plants and animals that can do billions in economic damage and starve out native species.

"We have Asian carp coming into Lake Michigan and zebra mussels moving out of the Great Lakes and into the heart of our country, both of which are like poison to the ecology of our waters," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said. "This is not just a Great Lakes issue. By working together, we hope to put pressure on the federal government to act before it's too late."

Zebra mussels (in photos) have caused the power industry BILLIONS of dollars in the 25 years they have inhabited the Great Lakes. The mussels clog intake pipes which must be continually cleaned of the tenacious invaders. The zebra mussels have also negatively impacted the fishing industry in the Great Lakes by disrupting the ecosystem.

If the Asian Carp enter the lakes and establish a breeding population, they will out-compete native and stocked species in the lakes. The round goby (an invasive fish transported from the Black Sea to the Great Lakes in ballast water) is already doing this to the perch in the lake.

Separation of these water systems appears to be a logical and necessary step to protect our nation's waters from invasives. Another no-brainer is to FINALLY mandate that all ballast water must be treated so that no new invasives get a free ride from the other side of the world to our Great Lakes.

To see the dramatic spread of the zebra mussel, click on the dynamic map HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment