Local Viewpoint

Last week the country observed Great Lakes Week.

As scientists, biologists, urban planners, government officials and outdoor enthusiasts gathered together to coordinate strategies to protect the Great Lakes, news was shared that a 82-pound Asian carp had been caught last month in a lake near Chicago. While the size of the fish was noteworthy in its own right, what is worrisome is that the lake from which it was pulled – Flatfoot Lake – is within “a stone’s throw” from Lake Calumet, which directly is connected to Lake Michigan.

“Today the Great Lakes face a number of growing threats ranging from the spread of invasive species to harmful pollution – it’s more important now than ever we ensure this water remains protected,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, who along with U.S. Carl Levin co-chairs the Senate Great Lakes Task Force.

We agree.

While Kirk mentioned a number of threats to the lakes, invasive species is one most of us are familiar with. Any of us who swim, boat, dive or fish the Great Lakes have seen the effects from things like zebra mussels, round goby or sea lamprey. Whole fisheries have been altered as the ecosystem of the lakes have changed as a result of these intruders.

That’s why the threat from Asian carp is so worrisome.

Left unchecked, the fish could create chaos through the water basin in very little time.

All of us are impacted by the Great Lakes.

Thus, let’s do all we can to protect them.