Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Great Lakes Echo adapts '12 Days of Christmas' to invasive species around the lakes

Silver carp jump from electric shock. (Photo: Chris Young, AP) 
Great Lakes Echo, a service of the Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University, on Monday completed its "Twelve Days of Invasive Species Christmas," pointing out an issue around the lakes that has many facets. At least 12.

The first stanza wasn't "a partridge in a pear tree," but "a carp barrier in the city." The Echo explained: "There are actually three electric barrier arrays in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Two of the barriers are always on, while the other is on standby to provide emergency backup or to be functional during periods of maintenance. This configuration has prevented radio-tagged fish in an Army Corps of Engineers study from moving upstream of the barriers. As long as the electricity remains on, these barriers should prove to be effective at preventing additional silver and bighead carp from entering the Great Lakes until a more permanent solution can be found."

The carp got their own stanza, with this explanation: "There are seven species of non-native carp in the United States. There are the four collectively known as Asian carp (black, grass, silver, and bighead), the common carp, the crucian carp, and last but not least, the Prussian carp (a wild version of the goldfish.) While the current focus is on the silver and bighead carp, all of these carp cause problems one way or another." Here is each stanza, other than the first and last:
Eleventh day: ‘Leven gobies gobbling
Tenth day: Ten alewives dying
Ninth day: Nine eggs in resting
Eighth day: Eight shrimp ‘a swarming
Seventh day: Seven carp and counting
Sixth day: Six lamprey leaping
Fifth day: Five boat wash stations
Fourth day: Perch on ice
Third day: Three clean boat steps
Second day: Two red swamp crayfish

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