to fight invasive species U.S. spend $ 50 million

Sunday, February 26th 2012. | Science News

us-lgflagThe federal government expects to spend a little more than $50 million in the coming year fighting invasive Asian carp, including sampling the Detroit River, Saginaw Bay, western Lake Erie and southern Lake Michigan for any sign of the fish’s DNA, officials said Thursday.

There is no evidence that the fish are in those lakes or bays, but scientists want to make sure because those are areas where the fish probably could get enough food to eat, survive and thrive, federal officials said Thursday.

If Congress approves the latest budgets for Asian carp as part of the larger Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the federal government will have spent $156 million since 2010 to contain the fish. Two species, bighead and silver, are notorious for their size, threats to boaters, voracious feeding habits and the fear that they will outcompete native fish for food.

The money also will continue funding experiments to control carp, including one that officials say is promising: using a female sex pheromone, a type of chemical scent, from Asian carp to lure males into traps or away from crucial areas.

Scientists have successfully isolated such a chemical and plan to test it this year in the field, said Leon Carl, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor. The USGS also is working on a carp-specific poison.

Federal officials said Asian carp are still 55 miles from the electric barrier south of Chicago despite DNA evidence much closer to Lake Michigan, and that a reproducing population is 150 miles from the barrier.

Last month, a privately funded study showed that closing off the Chicago waterways to Lake Michigan would be the most effective way to stop carp, but would cost billions of dollars and take decades to complete.

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