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Water Management Associations
$200 Million Barriers May Not Keep Silver Carp out of Lake Michigan
The silver carp was deliberately brought to the United States during the 1970s to help clean up pollution in fish farms. They weren’t expected to escape, and at the time it was believed that the fish couldn’t successfully reproduce in American waters. As it happened, silver carp can make it just fine in the wild.

The Army Corps of Engineers constructed a set of electronic barriers to keep carp from migrating up a canal and into Lake Michigan. An electric current zaps and kills any fish that try to swim through it. Close to $200 million has already been spent on this system of barriers.

The problem with the barriers is that they may stop fish, but they cannot prevent human intervention. Fishermen catch live bait constantly using nets and minnow traps. Very small silver carp look like many other baitfish to the untrained eye. All it will take is one uninformed fisherman putting a bait bucket containing some silver carp in the back of his truck or bass boat and moving from one fishing spot on the Des Plaines River to another spot on Lake Michigan.

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Triploid Grass Carp Destroy Fishery - Caney Lake was once the hottest bass fishery on the continent until complaints about submerged aquatic vegetation by landowners led to the introduction of triploid grass carp. The carp fed on the vegetation leaving bare bottom that caused a decline in the fisher that has never again reached those historic levels.

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