INTRO: This morning, The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is looking for Asian carp and their dna near Chicago. Last week, Governor Granholm and other governors got the White House to pledge $78 million to fight the invasive species. They threaten the Great Lakes. But it’s still unclear how close to Lake Michigan the fish have gotten. Chris McCarus reports.
The Illinois DNR will work in one of the industrial waterways in Cicero. That’s about 10 miles west of Lake Michigan. They’re testing for DNA from Asian carp feces or scales. They’re also hiring commercial fishermen with nets and electric shock devices. The general public is still having a tough time understanding where the invasive species has come from.
“I imagine the only way they come in is through the St. Lawrence seaway.”
Bob Smolen is a retired steel worker. He’s sitting in a coffee shop. It’s across the street from the plant where Ford makes the Taurus. The plant was built right next to the Calumet River. It’s about 3 miles from Lake Michigan and a mile away from where carp DNA was found last month. Biologists are looking in places like this because carp like the warm industrial discharge more than the pure icy waters of the river. The Calumet flows freely into the Lake.
“Did you ever think it was a bin Laden plan? Nobody had ever thought of that. Them people don’t fight fair.”
The carp was first brought to Arkansas fish farms in the 1970’s. During the 1990’s flooding pushed them across low flat lands into the Mississippi River. Since then they’ve moved north.
“Bin laden is a Taliban. They could have had them fish in the boats and let them go. You could hurt them other ways.”
If the carp enter Lake Michigan they could enter Michigan lakes and rivers too. Michiganders might have to do like Illinoisans. Boaters hold tournaments every year. 40 and 50 pound silver carp can jump 6 feet in the air. They can injure people. The boaters beat the fish with baseball bats.