As Asian carp make their way ever closer to the Great Lakes, prize money is being offered for a solution.
In the new “Invasive Carp Challenge,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is opening up the state coffers to anyone who can help prevent the movement of big-head, silver and black carp into the Great Lakes, with one or more solutions sharing up to $700,000.
Tammy Newcomb, senior water policy adviser at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said experts are working on the problem but creative thinkers can be found anywhere – “people who may not traditionally be in the area of fisheries, fishery science, fisheries management and having just a different way of looking at a problem. Sometimes, we can get clearer thinking by doing that.”
Online entries can be submitted through the end of October.
Earlier this summer, an eight-pound silver carp was caught on the Calumet River, just nine miles from Lake Michigan. This week, the Army Corps of Engineers proposed $275 million in upgrades to defenses aimed at keeping the fish out of the Great Lakes. If these fish become established in the lakes, Newcomb said, there is potential for problems that could cost billions of dollars.
“Looking at our port towns along the lake, and looking at our inland rivers and lakes where these fish could infest as well,” she said, “the potential impact from this invasive species – not only on the fishery but also on our boating and recreation and tourism – we get very concerned about the effects on our local economy.”
Aside from submitting ideas, she said, there are things people can do every day to prevent invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes, including checking bait carefully and reporting any fish that seem out of place to the Indiana DNR.
More information is online at michigan.gov/carpchallenge.