LANSING, MI–There is a silent, hidden threat lurking just outside the Great Lakes aimed at crippling Michigan’s environment and economy. That threat is the Asian carp, and private and public officials are trying to do something about it. But they must have your help to succeed.
That was the message from the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association (MLTA), the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), and the Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) on Tuesday as their unique partnership of tourism, business, and conservation were united to co-host a 2011 Asian Carp Summit at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing.
“The goal of this summit was to inform our respective members of the imminent threat of Asian carp on a number of tourism, economic, and conservation fronts in Michigan, and urge them to take action by getting involved with our representatives in Lansing and Washington, D.C. We need help from our leaders to stop Asian carp, and I think we took a big step in that direction today,” said MLTA Executive Director Steve Yencich. “Our members heard from many experts and now more fully understand the dire implications we face from Asian carp.”
Produced as a part of the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Industry Legislative Conference, some Asian Carp Summit highlights included presentations by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes Patty Birkholz, David Lorenz of Travel Michigan, and a special presentation from Asian Carp Director for the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality John Goss.
“It is great to work together with organizations like MLTA and MBIA who share a common goal of stopping Asian carp and other invasive species from entering our Great Lakes and drastically altering our way of life,” said MUCC Executive Director Erin McDonough. “Our organizations understand that the threat of Asian carp is not just a business issue, and not just a conservation issue. It is an issue that will affect us across the board. MUCC looks forward to continuing to work with them as we push to see real action taken by our leaders in Lansing and Washington, D.C. to stop the advancement of Asian carp.”
While the summit was underway, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 18, introduced by Sen. Howard Walker (R – Traverse City). SCR 18 asks Congress to take immediate action to close the O’Brien Lock and Dam in the Chicago Waterway System to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes watershed. Lock closure is just one interim measure that should be taken as federal officials move towards the permanent solution – permanent separation of the Great Lakes Basin watershed from the Mississippi River watershed.
At the conclusion of the summit, members of MLTA, MUCC, and MBIA made their way to the Capitol to lobby members in the House of Representatives to pass SCR 18 in the House this week, and to use their leverage as elected officials to urge Congress to take swift action.