New data released by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service confirms the imminent threat of Asian carp to the Great Lakes. Sampling data collected in October show the presence of bighead or silver carp DNA throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System, including near the lock in the city’s downtown, located less than one city block from Lake Michigan.

Asian carp have already infiltrated the Mississippi River, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a study last winter recommending the restoration of the natural divide between the river and Lake Michigan as a means to preventing the movement of aquatic species between the two bodies of water.

While little action has been taken to address the threat of invasive species to Lake Michigan, a committee of key regional stakeholders, known as the Chicago Area Waterway System Advisory Committee, has been formed. Their goal is to establish a set of recommendations to local, state, and federal officials and the public on short- and long-term measures to prevent Asian carp and other unwanted species from moving between the Mississippi and the Great Lakes.

The most recent DNA data released by the Fish and Wildlife Service follows a trend established over the past several years, where testing results have found the DNA of invasive species moving closer and closer to the Great Lakes.

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