Minneapolis moves to support state on Asian carp

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously on April 1, 2011 to support the state in efforts to protect Minnesota’s lakes and waterways from the spread of Asian carp – a species that could have a devastating impact on Minnesota’s lakes and rivers and hunting, fishing and resort industries if the fish successfully invade our waterways.

One of the motions urges the U.S. Congress to direct and allocate necessary funding to the appropriate federal agencies. It also urges Governor Dayton to direct the Department of Natural Resources to make absolutely every effort to protect the upper Mississippi River at and downstream of Minneapolis from the spread of Asian carp species.

Specifically, the motion requests that appropriate federal and state agencies take immediate action to:

The committee also moved to formalize a state task force and plan for mitigation, requesting that the State of Minnesota establish an Asian Carps Task Force for the Mississippi River and its watersheds and formalize a plan – with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – for mitigating the impacts of potential Asian carp infestation of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.

Asian carp threaten navigation, recreation and natural systems – including many other species of fish – of the upper Mississippi River, its tributaries and interconnected lakes. Since escaping aquaculture ponds where they were used for clearing the water of snails, plankton and plants, Asian carp species (bighead, silver, grass and black) have expanded their range in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Ohio, Illinois and Missouri rivers. There are no known reproducing populations in Minnesota to date, but all four species are expected to continue to expand if a control plan is not implemented.

The City invited Minneapolis business leaders to attend the discussion – specifically businesses that use the river for freight shipments, property owners that have unused barge freight infrastructure, and businesses that use or plan to use the upper river for tourism and recreation – because one strategy under discussion if Asian carp reach the Minneapolis area is closing Lock and Dam No. 1 (the Ford Dam) and/or Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam. The authority for a decision to close either or both of the locks rests with the federal government.

Published Apr. 1, 2011