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Environment & Climate Change
Asian carp have been making their way up the Mississippi River system for years after escaping from fish farms and wastewater treatment ponds in the southern U.S.They’re knocking on the door of the Great Lakes, and a number of people are concerned about what could happen if carp become established in the region.In this five-part series, we’ll take a look at what officials are trying to do to keep the fish out, what might happen if carp get in, and why some people want to turn carp into a business opportunity.

First meeting on U.S. Army Corps’ plans for Asian carp is tonight in Ann Arbor

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Lindsey Smith
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Michigan Radio
DNR fishery technician Vince Balcer holds up one of the "common carp" already found in many rivers in Michigan. The DNR held a practice drill in September 2013 to test their carp catching skills, just in case bighead or silver carp make it here.

This week federal officials will talk about the options for preventing Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

People and organizations will get a chance to have their say about which option they support. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host meetings in Ann Arbor on Tuesday night and in Traverse City on Thursday.

The meetings are two of six scheduled this month, from Louisiana to Pennsylvania. Officials will also take written comments through early March.

The meetings come just two weeks after the Corps of Engineers released a report with eight alternative plans for stopping migration of the voracious carp and other invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and others in Congress requested the report seven years ago.

“Some of the options they said could take 25 years. We don’t have 25 years. So we’ve got to get down to the quickest, most cost-affordable, but most importantly the most effective way to stop the carp,” Stabenow said.

Stabenow plans to be at the meetings. She says Congress cannot act on the report until one option is selected as the best way forward. “So that’s the goal now – get everybody around one solution,” she said.

The most expensive proposals would place structures such as dams in Chicago rivers and canals to seal off aquatic links between the two systems. The options are estimated to cost $15-18 billion.

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