Asian carp invasion threatens Lake Michigan

January 3, 2010

By Jon Richards, 19th District State Representative

During our recent extraordinary session, the state Assembly passed a resolution formally requesting that Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen take legal action to prevent Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. I authored the resolution along with my colleague from Door County, Representative Garey Bies.

Also in December, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox filed a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court to force the state of Illinois and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal until the Asian carp infestation has been eliminated. The resolution passed by the Wisconsin Assembly authorizes AG Van Hollen to intervene on behalf of the state of Wisconsin in this case. Currently, the only measure stopping the carp now is an electric barrier operating at half strength.

As has been widely reported, these fish are enormous. They can grow up to four feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. These monsters can consume up to 20 percent of their body mass in food every day. If Asian carp get into Lake Michigan, they will almost certainly destroy the natural habitat for the salmon, trout, bass, and perch of the Great Lakes. This will be detrimental to the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing industry. We cannot allow this to happen. 

Additionally, I asked my legislative colleagues to join me in signing a letter to Wisconsin’s congressional delegation asking them to join us in fighting to stop the Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan. I will not stop working until the threat of Asian carp entering our Great Lakes has been eliminated.

Jon Richards is the state representative for Wisconsin’s 19th state Assembly District, which includes Bay View, the Third Ward, eastern downtown, and the East Side. His website is He can be reached at (888) 534-0019 or

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One Comment on "Asian carp invasion threatens Lake Michigan"

  1. Ruth Anne Fraser on Wed, 6th Oct 2010 11:42 am 

    A bounty for the fish, like bounties offered for other pests might help the people to get involved with the eradication of the carp. Commercial fishermen could start a new industry, developing products from the fish, such as fish emulsion, gardening products and animal food products. The fish are there, the unemployment rate is high, use what is there to make a potential disaster into a boon and save the Great Lakes.

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