Aggressive action favored on Asian carp

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Aug 9, 2013 at 4:53 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. - With the invasive Asian carp on the move north, a majority of Minnesotans want aggressive action now to protect the state's more than 10,000 lakes, rivers and streams.

One option for protection would come in the form of closing the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River.

That closing is something supported by nearly two in three in a new poll, says Marc Smith with the National Wildlife Federation.

"And what we found was that overwhelmingly a majority of Minnesota voters are aware of carp," he says. "They're concerned about them and they believe that one of the best ways to stop them is to close the locks in Minneapolis."

Legislation in the U.S. Senate to close the locks has been authored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota authored the bill in the House. Neither has yet won approval.

Closing the locks would have some consequences on recreation and commerce, but Smith says it's a small price to pay considering what's at stake with Minnesota's waterways, both ecologically and economically.

"There is an economic impact on closing any lock," he says. "However, it's miniscule if you compare it to the impact of if Asian carp are allowed to move further upstream in the Mississippi River.

"We have the fishing industry, the tourism industry, the lake owners, the boating industry. We're talking billions of dollars here."

While no breeding populations of Asian carp have been detected in Minnesota waters, individual fish have been caught in the Mississippi River south of the Twin Cities and in the St. Croix River.

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