Carp DNA Found in Chicago River - NBC Chicago

Carp DNA Found in Chicago River

No live fish so far. Durbin says carp fight belongs in congress, not courtroom.



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    A fish breaches the waters surface in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009 in Lockport, Ill., after a toxic chemical was dumped on a nearly 6-mile stretch of the canal as part of state and federal efforts to keep the voracious and invasive carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Crews will be patroling in search of the Asian carp for the next few days. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

    Carp! The herald engineers sing!

    Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers admits that carp DNA was found in the Chicago River near the Wilmette pumping station north of Chicago.

    Major General John Peabody says no live carp have been found.

    The Army says the sample was taken in October and only recently analyzed. The news comes only days before a Supreme Court ruling that could potentially close shipping locks and gates that connect the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River basin.

    At a briefing on Asian carp containment held Tuesday at the Shedd Aquarium, Congressional leaders and federal officials called for cooperation in dealing with the fish, which could destroy the lakes’ $7 Billion fishing industry.

    “We should take this discussion out of the courtroom and into the halls of Congress,” says Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), referring to lawsuits filed by Attorneys General in Michigan and other states that border on the Great Lakes.

    Durbin and other insist the current ten-year effort to keep the carp out of Lake Michigan has been largely successful. “On a scale of one to ten, I think we’re an eight.”

    Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images

    But a spokesman for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox disagrees. “The have greatly underestimated the problem,” says John Sellek,“we think they should push the pause button and close the locks…at least for now. The Supreme Court could rule on the Michigan suit as early as Friday.

    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says the current system of electric barriers and monitoring has worked well and is being expanded. Assistant Director John Rogner says his agency is also working to find productive uses for the fish, which is known to outcompete native species for food. “If we can’t beat’em, eat ‘em,” he says. While Rogner says he’s never tried Asian Carp, the EPA’s Cam Davis says he has. “It tastes like chicken,” he says.