The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editorials

September 17, 2013

More focus needed for keeping Asian carp away

Why it matters: Stopping Asian carp at the St. Anthony lock is good, but don't forget about protecting the Minnesota River.

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That doesn’t mean attention shouldn’t also be focused on protecting the Minnesota, which stretches from border to border, 335 miles across the state.

There is no solution for the Minnesota as simple as closing off a lock. But there are options that have been used with some success elsewhere, including creating a combination of bubble, light and electric barriers across the river. The barriers send electric currents and light, or create bubbles that have been shown to scare the carp back and keep them from moving upstream.

Such a system near the mouth of the Minnesota is not likely to be 100 percent effective. During floods and through other means, Asian carp are likely to eventually get into more streams and lakes in the state. But dramatically slowing their migration into the Minnesota River is necessary.

Congress and federal officials also should put more effort into containing the carp closer to their main source in states south of Minnesota.

Slowing their spread would limit the damage they cause and it would give researchers more time to develop other future strategies, including things such as finding ways to disrupt the reproductive cycles of the carp.

Minnesota elected officials and DNR leaders should be pressuring Congress to take a comprehensive approach to limiting the carp, not focusing entirely on one spot in the state.

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