When czars speak it’s wise to listen. After all, they’re czars.
Just a month after being named “Asian carp czar,” John Goss is going public with his plan. Goss was Robert Siegel’s guest on NPR
when he talked about his plan to eradicate Asian carp, which is an invasive species that is on the brink of entering the Great Lakes after charging up the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois Rivers for decades.
All that is keeping the carp from entering the Great Lakes are underwater electric barriers, and the occasional river poisoning.
While the poisoning method is seen as a last resort, the underwater zapping machine isn’t going anywhere until the czar comes up with some new stuff.
“We are keeping [the Asian carp] out of the Great Lakes with the barriers and with this aggressive fishing and monitoring on both sides of the barrier while we go ahead and evaluate all of the options for putting a permanent separation for invasive species moving from the lakes to the rivers or the rivers to the lakes,” Goss said.
Goss’ long-term goal is eradication. To get there, he says he has both a short-term and long-term view. In the coming years he wants to focus on research projects, but in the short-term he plans on strengthening the electric barriers in the Chicago area. Goss has not ruled out more poisonings, if he deems them necessary.
Goss’ position as czar does not come without some political challenges. President Obama, who appointed Goss, has taken heat for supporting his home state of Illinois
in a case where Michigan sued Illinois because the state felt locks connecting the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan were passageways for the carp to travel through. Michigan wanted the locks closed, fearing the carp would devastate the state’s fishing industry. Illinois wanted the locks opened, fearing that closing them would devastate commerce.
Making the issue more interesting is that it was then-Solicitor General and current Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan who asked the Supreme Court to reject Michigan’s lawsuit. No word yet if the Asian carp see any of this as a conflict on interest, but I hear they think the situation is fishy.