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Time to let science drive Great Lakes policy on Asian carp, experts say
Date:6/30/2011

The threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes community may be politically controversial, but pales in comparison to the costs and danger of continuing to wring hands over established facts. It's time, a Michigan State University fisheries expert says, to let science drive policy and put knowledge into action.

"You know it's big when academics and the management community say we don't need five more years of study," said Bill Taylor, University Distinguished professor in global fisheries sustainability at Michigan State University and a member of MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. "The costs of hydrological separation are high, but it's a one-time expense and remediation in the Great Lakes from these invasive species will eventually make separation look cheap."

Taylor is one of four Great Lakes and Mississippi River researchers publishing a paper which breaks down four recent assertions that downplay the threat of the invasive Asian carp and questions the need to investigate ways to physically separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins to prevent the further spread of harmful non-native species.

Dividing the Waters: The Case for Hydrologic Separation of the North American Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins is published today in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. In addition to Taylor, it is authored by Jerry Rasmussen of Natural Resource Management Associates in Le Claire, Iowa; Henry Regier, University of Toronto; and Richard Sparks, a senior scientist at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Godfrey, Ill.

The authors conclude that the threats posed by the Asian carp and other invasive species remain high and warrant action to prevent further ecological and economic harm to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The paper examines recent claims by policy makers that:

  • Existing electric barriers are effective in preventing the spread of the
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Contact: Sue Nichols
nichols@msu.edu
517-432-0206
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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