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Ohio Defends Lake Erie Gateways from Asian Carp

Several groups and Great Lakes states are working to protect their bodies of water from the Asian carp. In the second part of his series, Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow looks at how Ohio is working to protect Lake Erie.

  

Asian carp are an ecological threat moving their way closer to Lake Erie. They eat a lot… they rapidly reproduce… and they cause all sorts of problems for the native species.

Right now the Asian carp… specifically the Bighead and Silver species… are in rivers… working their way north. And the best way to protect the Great Lakes is to protect their gateways.

The Great Lakes Commission is mainly concerned with the Chicago-area water system… identifying that as a high-risk pathway. But… Ohio officials are working to defend three passages that pose a risk in the Buckeye State… Portage Lake … and Little Killbuck Creek in northeast Ohio and Grand Lake St. Marys in northwest Ohio.

Carter: “Those are of concern because they represent areas connections between the Ohio River—where Asian carp are starting to move into—and Lake Erie. So we do not want Bighead and Silver carp to be able to breach those gaps and move into Lake Erie.”

Rich Carter is the executive administrator for fish management and research for the state. He says protecting Lake Erie is important… especially for Ohio anglers.

Carter: “These fish again are food chain disruptors and they have the ability to out compete our native fish—you know—our walleye, and our yellow perch, and our small-mouthed bass—basically out compete with the young of those fish. So they could diminish the populations of those fish.”

So what can be done to defend these gateways? At Little Killbuck Creek… the state is working with local soil and water conservation groups and the federal government to close the connection between the Ohio River and Lake Erie.

As for Portage Lakes… the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently performing an engineering evaluation.

The same type of evaluation is in the preliminary stages at Grand Lake St. Marys… this study will determine the best course of action to disconnect the waterways.

The Great Lakes Commission says proposing to close the Chicago-area water system has created some controversy. However… Carter says defending the gateways in Ohio has not garnered any pushback.

The Statehouse News Bureau was founded in 1980 to provide educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations. To this day, the Bureau remains the only broadcast outlet dedicated to in-depth coverage of state government news and topics of statewide interest. The Bureau is funded througheTech Ohio, and is managed by ideastream. The reporters at the Bureau follow the concerns of the citizens and voters of Ohio, as well as the actions of the Governor, the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Supreme Court, and other elected officials. We strive to cover statehouse news, government issues, Ohio politics, and concerns of business, culture and the arts with balance and fairness, and work to present diverse voices and points of view from the Statehouse and throughout Ohio. The three award-winning journalists at the bureau have more than 60 combined years of radio and television experience. They can be heard on National Public Radio and are regular contributors to Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace. Every weekday, the Statehouse News Bureau produces in-depth news reports forOhio's public radio stations. Those stories are also available on this website, either on the front page or in our archives. Weekly, the Statehouse News Bureau produces a television show from our studios in the Statehouse. The State of Ohio is an unique blend of news, interviews, talk and analysis, and is broadcast on Ohio's public television stations. The Statehouse News Bureau also produces special programming throughout the year, including the Governor's annual State of the State address to the Ohio General Assembly and a five-part year-end review.
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