Friday, September 28, 2012

Corps IDs Four potential invasive species portals in Ohio

In a war the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says is worth winning, the federal government is looking to push back the tide of aquatic nuisance species that could target the Great Lakes.

Today during a teleconference conducted by the Corps, government officials  pointed out the threats associated with invasive species such as Asian carp, but not necessarily as they relate to the much-talked-about Chicago Area Waterway System.

In all, said government officials during the teleconference, some other 18 potential portals - called pathways - exist by which invasive species may enter the Great Lakes.

Leading the state’s with the most number of potential pathways is Wisconsin with eight while Pennsylvania has none.

Ohio has four at-risk invasive species pathways: the Mosquito Creek Reservoir/Grand River (rated as being low), Little Killbuck Creek (rated as being moderate/medium) the Ohio-Erie Canal as it applies to Long Lake in Akron (moderate/medium), and Grand Lake St. Marys (rated as being low), the government officials said.

Some of these waterways may offer up only seasonal opportunities for invasive species to transfer from one basin to another while others have barriers of one kind or another that could impede transfers.

Not included in the list, however, is the Maumee River, which enters Lake Erie in Ohio but begins in Indiana.

For this watershed the risk factors are high for the transfer of such pests as from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River drainage and Asian carp from the latter to the former, the officials said.
An investigation led to the government’s study, summarizing the information “for a broad audience” in such a way as to help people evaluate not only what species might arrive but equally important, where.

In all cases, the government officials said also, the Chicago Waterways System still remains the most likely venue for invasive species to move about from one basin to another.

Also, said the conference speakers and participants, many of the Great Lakes potentially impacted states are working on their own studies and possible solution.

To see the Corps’ summary report, visit web site

However, comments can be made only through Oct. 14.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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