As the lock system on the Allegheny River crumbles and fails, the communities along its banks—which all benefit in one way or another without having to pay anything—debate who should pay.
The Canadians have foiled “several” efforts to smuggle truckloads of live carp into the country.
Tens of millions of dollars are being spent to prevent carp from getting into the Great Lakes via Chicago area waterways, and there are many calls to close them, resulting in perhaps billions of dollars in economic losses and greater pollution for the Chicago area.
How much is being spent in interdicting carp smugglers?
A downbound tow suffered a breakaway at Upper Mississippi River Lock and Dam 25 March 7, and four of the barges sank against the dam, the Corps of Engineers reported.
George Stringham, a spokesman for the St. Louis Engineer District, said the tow of the mv. Julie White of American River Transportation Company hit the bullnose of the lock, causing the loaded rock barges to break loose and drift down into the dam. Three of the barges wound up directly against the dam, while a fourth was resting at an angle to the dam and the lock wall, he said.
The river was near flood stage at the time of the accident, and all of the dam gates were open. Stringham said if the river starts falling, the Corps won’t be able to close all of the dam gates.
Meanwhile, the Corps has ordered the use of a helper boat at Lock 25 for downstream tows exceeding four barges or if ordered by the lockmaster. The sunken barges will cause a change to normal outdraft conditions, and mariners are urged to use extreme caution when approaching the lock, the Corps said in a navigation notice.
Rep. Boustany on the need to dredge the Mississippi River now. His Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act is moving through Congress with bipartisan support.
Columnist Dennis Anderson of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune warns that Asian carp are not just a threat to the Great Lakes; they are also heading for prime fisheries in Minnesota and Wisconsin:
Already, reproducing populations of some Asian carp species (which includes grass carp, silver carp, bighead carp and black carp) are in the Mississippi River somewhere north of the Minnesota-Iowa border.
In coming days and weeks, depending on the leadership (or lack thereof) of the Minnesota congressional delegation, Gov. Mark Dayton, the state’s legislative kingpins and the Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota will either move forward in attempts to head off Asian carp — or continue to do nothing.
The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Anderson makes two recommendations. First, DNA testing in UMR Pools 1–7 to see if the carp are in fact there, and second,
Begin negotiations immediately between the DNR and various federal authorities — most important the Army Corps of Engineers — to explore placement of a sound, bubble and light barrier at Prescott, Wis., where the St. Croix River joins the Mississippi.
Anderson’s hope is to stop the migration of the invaders somewhere south of the Iowa border; failing that, at least to keep them out of the St. Croix River.