Crazy Carp Spark Great Lakes Brouhaha

Mich. sues Ill. in latest move to block voracious fish
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2009 1:47 PM CST
Crazy Carp Spark Great Lakes Brouhaha
Illinois River silver carp jump out of the water. Many fear that the Asian carp, which can reach 4 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds, will wreak havoc by starving the local fish out.   (AP Photo/Illinois River Biological Station via the Detroit free Press, Nerissa Michaels)

Michigan sued neighboring Illinois last week, a most un-neighborly move aimed at blocking the invasive Asian carp from the Great Lakes—and re-reversing the flow of the Chicago River. The case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court, notes the Washington Post, and resurrects another from 1922 over Chicago's right to draw water from lakes, as well as pitting commercial and environmental interests against each other.

The Chicago River was originally reversed to prevent Chicago from dumping sewage into the Great Lake—a problem made irrelevant by modern sewage-cleaning technology. But if the series of canals is shuttered to protect the Great Lakes ecosystem and the $7 billion fishing industry therein, Illinois' thriving barge commerce will be forced to find an expensive over-land alternative. Suck it up, says one environmentalist: "Instead of protecting Lake Michigan, the system is now the primary vector for the biggest pollution threat the Great Lakes have faced: invasive species." (Read more Asian carp stories.)

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