Take action against the Asian carp

They come from Asia, reproduce at lightning speed and affix to any hard surface they can find.

About as big as a thumbnail, they can clear entire bodies of water, clog boat motors and affect the aquatic food chain.

They also require a good bit of elbow grease to pry free and cut boaters’ feet.

They produce millions of larvae. They also spread easily from one body of water to another. Adults often attach to boat hauls and motors and larvae can be carried on bait, such as minnows, that might have come from another lake.

Their feeding habits lead to competition with other species including other mussels and fish, like walleye.

Along with boat motors, they can clog water intake pipes, such as those belonging to the City of Warren, which gets its drinking water from the Mosquito Creek Reservoir.

Less than six years ago these zebra mussels, which swarmed the Mosquito reservoir several years earlier, were larger than ever. They migrated here from Asia, via the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes states have built a $7.5 billion commercial fishing industry that provides 800,000 jobs around Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Superior and Erie. Damage, some say potential destruction, of that ecosystem because of invasive Asian species, would wreck that industry. A wrecked marine industry certainly would trickle down to Trumbull County, just one county removed from Lake Erie.

In addition, as we learned from the zebra mussels, a more direct plague could be in store for local residents and businesses that have become accustomed to the recreational and drinking water assets of Mosquito.

Hopefully the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes seriously a letter sent from a bipartisan group of Northeast Ohio lawmakers who are urging for swift action to prevent invasive species, such as Asian carp, from entering the Great Lakes.

U.S. Reps. Dave Joyce, R-Russell; Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth; Tim Ryan, D-Howland; and Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights, penned the letter in response to The Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study, which outlines options to stop Asian carp.

Joyce, who represents northern Trumbull County, stated, ”To be frank, we don’t have another seven years to wait for the Army Corps to outline the best path forward. It’s critical that the ACE quickly recommends and executes a plan of action. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs and over 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water at stake.”

Ryan, who represents most of the Mahoning Valley, said, ”We need to make every effort to preserve the Great Lakes, not only for our economic well-being, but for what they provide in recreation for people in many states. The work the United States Army Corps of Engineers is doing to deal with this invasive species is crucial to countless jobs in our region and the preservation of our environment. The time to act is now.”

Ryan is familiar with how badly an Asian species could impact his district. Just five years ago, he requested $750,000 in stimulus money to kill zebra mussels from intake water lines at Warren’s water treatment plant.

As the letter to Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commanding general and chief of engineers for the Army Corps, points out, ”While we appreciate the USACE’s diligence in laying out multiple pathways to stopping the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes, we urge you now to identify the best path forward and execute that plan . . .

”. . . We need quick and decisive action in order to combat a potential crisis that could destroy the Great Lakes ecosystem. . .”

The lawmakers should continue to push for swift Army Corps action.