Just yesterday, while traveling back from a work retreat in Minnesota, I got wind that the folks in Congress actually did something good for fish and wildlife and our Great Lakes. Hard to believe.
By passing a massive Transportation Bill to help our nations highways and fund important public transit projects moving forward, Congress also stepped up for conservation.
The Stop Asian Carp Act was included in the Transportation bill. This bill (introduced by Sens. Stabenow (MI), Brown (OH), Portman (OH) and Rep. Camp (MI) ) orders the Corps of Engineers to speed up efforts to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from damaging our Great Lakes and Mississippi River. Specifically, it orders the Corps to include as part of its study to prevent invasive species from entering the Great Lakes – studying how to permanently separate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River Basin – and do it by 2013.
This effort has D’s and R’s joining together and is a great step forward in our efforts to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. National Wildlife Federation (NWF, our Illinois affiliate Prairie Rivers Network, and other NWF affiliates have long pressured the Corps to speed up and find a permanent solution.
Todays bi-partisan act by Congress no doubt will help!
We have a lot of work left to do to permanently stop Asian carp – but please take the time to send a thank you to Congress for hearing our concerns about Carp.
Also included in this bill was the RESTORE Act, a much-needed victory that will help restore our Gulf Coast Vanishing Paradise. Specifically, this will send billions of dollars in civil penalties to the Gulf Coast for restoration and economic recovery in the wake of the BP oil spill. This will create the largest wildlife restoration and adaptation fund in history.
With any large piece of legislation, there were some tradeoffs (didnt include funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and exempts environmental review for some transportation projects) – but all told – this is a conservation victory.