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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.

Local government leaders begin 3 day meeting on Great Lakes issues

A map of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River

A three day conference is getting underway in Marquette today, looking at the unique needs of cities on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

More than a hundred American and Canadian cities are part of the group organizing the conference.

Dave Ulrich is the executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

He says this year’s conference is focusing on the effects of climate change on Great Lakes cities, particularly on water levels on the lakes.

“Water levels have been down. And there’s very serious concern about that,” says Ulrich, “There are questions about how much actually can be done to deal with these water levels.”

Ulrich expects invasive species, especially the Asian Carp, will also be a major area of discussion at the conference.

Ulrich says state, provincial and federal governments are good at working with cities in the Great Lakes region.

“It’s usually an issue of getting things done faster rather than having a disagreement on what ought to be done,” says Ulrich.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative was founded a decade ago to address the region’s issues from a local government perspective.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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