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Asian carp have been making their way up the Mississippi River system for years after escaping from fish farms and wastewater treatment ponds in the southern U.S.They’re knocking on the door of the Great Lakes, and a number of people are concerned about what could happen if carp become established in the region.In this five-part series, we’ll take a look at what officials are trying to do to keep the fish out, what might happen if carp get in, and why some people want to turn carp into a business opportunity.

Court won't close shipping canal immediately to stop invasive carp

The distribution of the bighead carp in the U.S. Evidence of the fish have been found in Lake Erie, but no reproducing populations have been found there yet.
The distribution of the bighead carp in the U.S. Evidence of the fish have been found in Lake Erie, but no reproducing populations have been found there yet.

This post has been updated with more details and comments from AG's office. 

Shipping locks in Chicago-area waterways will not be closed while a lawsuit over how to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes is pending. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the injunction Monday.

Michigan and other Great Lakes states have a pending lawsuit that calls for permanently splitting the man-made link between the Mississippi and Great Lakes; but without stopping shipping between the lakes and Chicago. The Army Corp of Engineers says it’ll take years to complete a study on how to do that. “We don’t want to hurt a single job in Michigan or Illinois but the Army Corp has made clear that they’re going to take years,” said John Selleck and Michigan Attorney General spokesman. “That’s simply unacceptable,” Selleck said.

The states wanted the Supreme Court to close the shipping locks while that lawsuit works its way through the court system. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says they’re worried the invasive carp will get into the Great Lakes before the federal government can agree on a long term solution.

“Everybody in the Great Lakes ought to know that right now the Asian Carp is knock, knock, knocking on the Great Lakes door,” Shuette said.

Scientists have found traces of carp DNA in Lake Michigan but no actual fish.

Selleck says they’d be willing to drop the case if the Army Corps of Engineer’s study on how to stop the carp would move quicker or if President Obama took action.

“We really need to continue to be aggressive and urge people to have their congressional delegations like Michigan’s across the Great Lakes, follow Michigan in terms of putting the heat on the Corps of Engineers,” Schuette said.

The federal government will have spent more than $150 million over 3 years in the fight against the invasive carp. Scientists differ about how widely the carp would spread in the Great Lakes, but under worst-case scenarios they could severely damage the $7 billion fishing industry.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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