Minnesota Trout Unlimited’s efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of Asian carp.
Minnesota Trout Unlimited has been working for many years to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species into Minnesota waters. For years our efforts focused primarily upon Lake Superior and the Great Lakes basin. This is not just because Lake Superior and the Great Lakes are arguably the greatest single coldwater fishery in the country, but also because the Great Lakes shipping has been the major source of aquatic invasive species introductions impacting all Minnesota waters. Zebra mussels, round gobies, and the VHS virus are just some of the many invasive species brought to our shores via Great Lakes shipping activities.
But ballast water is not the only source of AIS in the Great Lakes and Minnesota. Asian carp highlight the threat posed by aquaculture, especially via the Mississippi River. Minnesota Trout Unlimited recognized this threat several years ago (especially via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal) and has been advocating on several fronts to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes basin. Last spring we began working closely with a great group of partners focused on keeping Asian carp out of the upper Mississippi River basin as well. The core group of partners, including Audubon Minnesota, Clean Water Action Minnesota, Friends of the Mississippi River, the Izaak Walton League of America, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Trout Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation, has welcomed the many new partners joining in our letters.
Momentum is growing. Over the past few months we have been working with the Governor’s office, leaders in the Minnesota Legislature, and Minnesota’s Congressional delegation. Close work with many members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation, including travels to Washington D.C., culminated in the introduction of the Upper Mississippi Conservation and River Protection Act (Upper Mississippi CARP Act). We were happy it received bi-partisan support out of the gate and we look forward to our remaining members of Congress signing on.
There is much more to be done and we will not rest until our state and federal governments actually take significant actions.
Summary of Governor Dayton’s second Asian carp summit – Nov 2011.
Governor Dayton conveyed a second summit on November 18, 2011 and there was a clear sense of urgency among most people in the room. Perhaps most importantly, that sense of urgency was shared by Governor Dayton, as well as Senator Klobuchar. Minnesota Trout Unlimited was invited to participate in the summit along with several of the partners with whom we have been working on this issue for many months.
These were MNTU’s overall impressions from that summit:
Governor Dayton clearly understands the urgency of the situation. He wants significant action, on multiple fronts, before the locks reopen on the Mississippi River in April 2012. The DNR received clear marching orders and the DNR’s lead, Tim Schlagenhaft, was delighted. Senator Klobuchar also demonstrated that she understands the urgency of the situation. She wisely counseled that Minnesota develop a “clear ask” of Congress and the Administration so that we get more timely federal cooperation and action. Governor Dayton agreed that we need to take action on several fronts at once, and we may need to employ methods that are not well tested since we do not have the luxury of time to thoroughly study them.
Governor Dayton directed the DNR to develop a prioritized list of actions before the end of the year (2011). MNTU was invited to, and did participate in that process. The Governor convened a third meeting in December to settle on the priority actions to take.
State of Minnesota’s Asian Carp Action Plan.
In fall 2011 the ad hoc task force led by the MNDNR and National Parks Service revised the action plan which it had been formulating for several months. It is now a very good draft Asian Carp Action Plan. Click to view the Asian Carp Action Plan. The growing coalition which MNTU has been working with since spring released a critique of the Action Plan which we discussed at the Governor’s summit on Nov. 18, 2011. Click to view the coalition’s Nov 18 2011 Letter to Dayton re Asian carp plan & summit.
MNTU and MN Asian Carp Coalition further recommendations to address the Asian carp threat.