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Ohio starts projects to protect Lake Erie from Asian Carp
Efforts focus on the Portage Lakes, Grand Lake St. Marys and Little Killbuck Creek

Andy Chow
Ohio is starting projects to keep Asian Carp out of Lake Erie.
Courtesy of Pat Falkman
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Several groups and states surrounding the Great Lakes are working to protect the bodies of water from Asian carp. Ohio is among those working to protect Lake Erie from this invasive species.

LISTEN: Chow on Ohio's battle against carp

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Asian carp are an ecological threat moving 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 bighead and silver species of the carp, are in rivers, working their way north.

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

“Those are of concern because they represent areas connections between the Ohio River, where Asian carp are starting to move into, and Lake Erie," says Rich Carter, executive administrator for fish management and research for Ohio. "So we do not want bighead and silver carp to be able to breach those gaps and move into Lake Erie.”

Invaders disrupt industry and tourism
Carter says protecting Lake Erie is important, especially for Ohio anglers.

“These fish again are food chain disruptors and they have the ability to out compete our native fish, our walleye, our yellow perch and our small-mouthed bass," Carter says. "Basically, [the carp] out-compete with the young of those fish. So they could diminish the populations of those fish.”

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 performing an engineering evaluation. The same type of evaluation is in the preliminary stages at Grand Lake St. Marys. The studies 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 led to any pushback, yet.

Listener Comments:

Kind of surprised that this report didn't mention THE major Ohio gateway for algae - the Maumee River, which starts in Fort Wayne, IN, but runs through NW Ohio and dumps into the western basin of Lake Erie, the most fertile and productive fish habitats of the entire Great Lakes region. A carp fence there supposedly will keep adult carp out of the lakes, but won't serve to prevent fertilized eggs or spawn out of Erie, should they manage to reproduce in the fast-flowing Maumee.

Posted by: Karen Schaefer (Oberlin) on August 7, 2013 4:08AM
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