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updated: 5/17/2012 12:35 AM

A bureacratic mess worth carping about

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  • Illinois Natural History biologists take a water sample looking for Asian carp eggs and Larvel fish on the southern branch of the Chicago River.

      Illinois Natural History biologists take a water sample looking for Asian carp eggs and Larvel fish on the southern branch of the Chicago River.
    Associated Press/May 2011 file

  • This 20-pound Asian carp was caught beyond the electric barriers constructed to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes. This live bighead carp was found in a Chicago-area waterway only 6 miles from Lake Michigan.

      This 20-pound Asian carp was caught beyond the electric barriers constructed to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes. This live bighead carp was found in a Chicago-area waterway only 6 miles from Lake Michigan.
    Illinois Department of Natural Resources photo

 
 

If everything stays the same, and if the same bureaucrats continue to sit on their duffs while sharpening their No. 2 pencils, we will have the world's greatest Asian carp fishery known to mankind without having to spend a nickel.

Not long ago, I received an e-mail from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pertaining to the Asian carp drama and other environmental issues.

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Now before I get to the "meat" of the issue, here's some of that e-mail. As far as I'm concerned, the Corps should stick to building and destroying dams and stay out of the fishing business. The release was titled, "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases aquatic nuisance species controls paper."

"The ANS Controls Paper can be compared to a tool box that holds various tools -- 90 tools within 27 categories, to be exact -- that will be investigated as a part of GLMRIS," said GLMRIS Chicago Area Waterway System Project Manager Dave Wethington about the "Inventory of Available Controls for Aquatic Nuisance Species of Concern - Chicago Area Waterway System," released Dec. 21 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

"This ANS Control Paper is an inventory of available options or technologies that may be effective at preventing the 39 ANS of Concern, established by the ANS White Paper, from transferring through the aquatic pathways in the CAWS, as well as other potential aquatic pathways. The ANS White Paper, released July 2011, identified the ANS of Concern that will be an initial focus in GLMRIS. Ten of the 39 species are of concern for potential transfer to the Great Lakes Basin and 29 are of concern for potential transfer to the Mississippi River Basin.

"The paper does not contain specific recommendations, rank the effectiveness of the ANS Controls or identify constraints, regulatory requirements or technological feasibility of application. The 90 identified controls were selected based on literature, scientific analysis and professional judgment."

Got that? After reading that last part of the e-mail several times I am now certain there is no clear reason for the Army Corps to exist.

But that's only part of the issue. Since the Corps and other bureaucratic agencies have failed in their quest to halt the spread of Asian carp in the Illinois River and perhaps even Lake Michigan, I now suggest the following.

Let us demand the Illinois state legislature replace the bluegill with the Asian carp as our state fish. Even though I have always maintained ounce-for-ounce the bluegill is perhaps the best freshwater fighting fish we have in the state, bar none.

Forget about the opportunity of having one of these monster carp smacking us on the sides of our heads during one of their spectacular leaps out of the water.

Just think of the thousands of anglers coming to Illinois from Sweden, Poland, Croatia and England just to fish for these highly aggressive piscatorial vacuum cleaners. Of course the currency brought with them would go to the local communities, not state lawmakers.

Some enterprising Illinois River resident could open a restaurant right on the banks of the river and serve nothing but deep-fried Asian carp sandwiches.

But that, too, would be stalled in a legislative committee that will probably wait for the Army Corps to issue an impact statement on whether or not it's feasible for the proposed restaurant to turn on its electricity.

•Contact Mike Jackson at angler88@comcast.net, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.

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