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Attorney General Van Hollen Seeks to Stop Asian Carp Invasion of Lake Michigan


Van Hollen Files Brief With United States Supreme Court Joining Michigan's Request For A Preliminary Injunction Aimed At Preventing Asian Carp Migration Into Great Lakes


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice, on behalf of the State of Wisconsin, has filed a Response to the State of Michigan's Motion for Preliminary Injunction with the United States Supreme Court.  Wisconsin's response seeks to prevent the migration of big head and silver carp into Lake Michigan.  Wisconsin joins Minnesota and Ohio in supporting Michigan's request that the Court immediately order the State of Illinois along with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately close and cease operation of certain locks and gates between Chicago waterways and Lake Michigan.  This action would prevent these large bodied planktivorous invasive fish from invading Lake Michigan and Wisconsin waterways. 


"I am very concerned about the potential for an invasive contamination of Lake Michigan by Asian Carp," said Van Hollen. "The infiltration of Asian Carp into Lake Michigan may have serious adverse environmental and economic consequences to Wisconsin's waters and industry.  This action seeks to ensure that the integrity of Lake Michigan is not harmed by the introduction of these Carp."


Big head and silver carp survive and thrive in lake habitat types found in Wisconsin waters of the Great Lakes including Milwaukee Harbor, Green Bay, Chequamegon Bay, Duluth Superior Harbor, as well as the Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Bad and Nemadji Rivers.  In 2007 the Wisconsin commercial harvest was worth $3 million for Lake Michigan and $651,000 for Lake Superior based on estimates compiled by the United States Geological Survey.  Sport fishing in Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior generated $419 million in economic activity and supported 5,000 jobs in Wisconsin alone in 2006.  Big head and silver carp threaten to substantially upset the ecological balance of Wisconsin waterways and undermine the enjoyment and production of Wisconsin's waterways. 


Although the states have asked the United States Supreme Court to act expeditiously, it is not clear when a decision will be issued.  The opposing parties will be responding to the request by January 5, 2010.


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