Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Asian Carp DNA Found Upstream of the Barriers

UW Sea Grant Insititute has more information on the possible Asian carp breach here.

Read other articles on the breach here, here, and here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Toilet Day

Today is World Toilet Day! A day to celebrate the importance of sanitation and raise awareness for the 2.5 billion people (nearly half of the world's population) who don't have access to toilets and proper sanitation.

Click here for more information on World Toilet Day.

Click here to read an article by my colleague, Commissioner Shore, about the importance of today.

Asian Carp Invasion Video

Check out these informative videos on Asian Carp:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to Close for Fish Barrier Maintenance

During the first week of December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning on performing maintenance on one of the two electric barriers in operation on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. During this period the Canal will be shut down to all traffic for a period of four to five days. The electric barriers in the canal were put in place to stop the movement of Asian carp into Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes. Asian Carp pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem because of their ravenous feeding and spawning habits. If introduced to the lake, the Asian carp would be very difficult to control and would quickly out-compete native species by disrupting their food chain and consequently become the dominant species in the lake. This would not only devastate the Great Lakes ecosystem but have a significant economic impact on the $7 billion fishery. Asian carp have been detected using environmental DNA testing in the canal below the barrier. Therefore, when the electric barrier is shut down for maintenance there is a fear that the Asian carp could travel down the canal to Lake Michigan. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources who is working with other environmental agencies such as the MWRDGC as part of the Asian Carp Rapid Response Group will be applying Rotenone, a fish poison, in the canal during the electric barrier shut-down. According to IDNR, the Rotenone will provide the highest level of certainty that Asian carp will not advance past the electric barrier when shut down. Rotenone will kill the Asian carp as well as other fish in the canal but when used properly does not present a risk to people or other wildlife.

For more information read the IDNR press release and Asian carp FAQ.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Turn Red for Study

U.S. Geological Survey Scientists injected a harmless bright red fluorescent dye into a stretch of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on Tuesday, November 10, 2009. According to the USGS, "the dye study is aimed at obtaining information on the dispersion and travel times of waterborne contaminants in the canal and characterizing leakage to adjacent water bodies such as the Des Plaines River and I & M Canal. Such information is used by Federal, state, and local agencies for various engineering applications, especially water-quality monitoring and control and invasive species management." One such invasive species of concern is the Asian Carp, which pose a significant threat to the the aquatic communities and fisheries in the Great Lakes.

For more information read the USGS news release and their Red Dye Studies FAQ.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Board Meeting Notice

A friendly reminder that there is a MWRDGC Board Meeting at 10:00am on Thursday, November 5, 2009. The Board Meetings are held in the Board Room at 100 East Erie Street, Chicago. All members of the public are welcome to attend. There is also a special meeting to discuss the 2010 MWRDGC Budget at 1:00pm on Thursday. Click here for Board Meeting details and agenda.

Other Meetings:
There will also be two study sessions to solicit public comment on the Watershed Management Ordinance. The first meeting will be this Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at 7:00pm at Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook Illinos. The second meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 7:00pm at Maine West High School, 1755 South Wolf Road, Des Plaines, Illinois.