After (recent) revelations concerning Asian carp DNA in Lake Erie and the interest it is causing, just how important is the "Stop Invasive Species Act" authored by U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, to the health of the Great Lakes?
Recently, freelance writer Steve Griffin reported that six water samples from the Sandusky and north Maumee Bay areas tested positive for Asian carp material called eDNA.
Asian carp were imported to the natio's southern Delta area in the 1970s and have moved steadily northward in the Mississippi River and its tributaries since escaping from Southern fish farms and sewage lagoons.
It is thought, and a report by the Great Lakes Commission recently confirmed, that Lake Michigan would most likely be the point of entry of the fish into the Great Lakes.
So the DNA findings in Lake Erie are surprising.
No actual Asian carp were found, but the presence of the eDNA is an indicator that they exist at that location, since the eDNA is detectable only for "about 48 hours."
"It takes more than a couple of eDNA hits to demonstrate that more than just a fish or two are present in Lake Erie," Great Lakes Commission Executive Director Tim Eder said.
"However, the finding of eDNA tells us that fish are present. My assumption is that there would have been many more than six eDNA hits if there was more than a couple of fish in Lake Erie."
Finding a fish, however, would, in the words of Jim Dexter, chief of the Michigan DNR's Fisheries Division, "trigger an all-out manhunt for more."
We hope state, federal and international authorities do not have to do more in Lake Erie than the increased surveillance that they are doing now.
And we have a chance now to stop the carp from entering the Great Lakes through Lake Michigan.
The "Stop the Invasive Species Act" requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study ahead of schedule and to develop solutions to prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from transferring between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.
It requires the Corps to complete the study within 18 months.
It is good legislation that will help protect the Great Lakes.