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We Can’t Afford to Stop Invasives; We Can’t Afford Not To

January 31, 2012Patrick NunnallyRiversComments Off on We Can’t Afford to Stop Invasives; We Can’t Afford Not To

Announcement today of a plan to separate the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and the Mississippi River watershed foreshadows the vigorous debate to come.  The Detroit Free Press reports that the cheapest plan would cost $3 billion.  And we all know how that price tag will be met:  with howls that “we can’t afford it” and “what about our grandchildren?”

Well, what ABOUT our grandchildren?  A Mississippi River where people are afraid to go fishing in boats for fear that a “flying carp” will smack them is no legacy.  Neither is a fishery–Minnesota’s sport fishing is estimated as a multi billion dollar per year industry–that has been decimated of sportfish and reduced to a carp monoculture.  Yet these are the dire predictions from those who have studied the encroaching invaders the most closely.

More information on today’s announcement that permanent physical barriers separating the watersheds is feasible can be found in a press release,  and in a very informative backgrounder with links to report sections, additional supplemental materials, and images.  And the coverage by HuffPost Green is here.

So what about here in the Twin Cities?  The places to impose physical barriers are clear:  locks and dams at the Ford plant and St. Anthony Falls.  What’s less clear is the range of impacts that would occur should those facilities be closed.

And for more about that range of issues, and the perhaps unpopular notion that it’s not just about the science, tune in to my next blog post.


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