Officials dumped 2,200 gallons of a natural toxin into the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal in an effort to kill the invasive fish. But the poisoning only killed one Asian carp.
Fearing the invasive fish would enter the Great Lakes, Michigan's Gov. Jennifer Granholm and five environmental groups have threatened to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to force it to temporarily shut three locks near Chicago.
By temporarily closing the O’Brian Lock near the entrance to Lake Michigan, the Feds would effectively stop all invasive species from going upstream into the Great Lakes, but it would also bring boat traffic to a halt.
The Asian carp is considered an invasive species which can eat as much as several times its body weight per day.
Although only one carp was found dead among the thousands of other dead fish that were poisoned on Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources doesn’t feel like the operation was a failure.
"We couldn't take a chance that while the barrier is down, Asian carp are allowed to swim freely up the canal," Illinois DNR spokesman Chris McCloud told the Tribune. "There's too much at stake to do nothing. We'd rather err on the side of caution."
The toxin had been dumped into the canal on Wednesday, as crews deactivated an electric barrier that keeps the fish from swimming upstream. On Thursday, local scientists and biologists, as well as Canadian observers, started scooping up the dead fish, finding only one Asian carp.
The repairs on the electric barrier should be completed by Saturday evening.
In the meantime, Gov. Pat Quinn said neighboring states should help each other to fight the Asian carp problem.