The Carp Effect
The Great Lakes watershed has been struggling with an interesting (but not unique) problem: an invasive species. The Asian carp, which outcompete local species for food, would disrupt the ecological balance of the watershed as well as decimate the local fishing industry if they were allowed to roam the lakes unchecked.
Four species of Asian carp currently live in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and the bad news came this week that at least one species has successfully reproduced in the Great Lakes watershed for the first time—which was not part of the original plan to keep sterile carp in closed environments like reservoirs and fish farms in order to control aquatic plants.
Nearly $200 million has already been spent on trying to prevent the carp from getting into the lakes, and the news from this week seems to indicate that we can’t close our wallets just yet.
Problems like invasive species can be prevented. Everything we do has an effect on the environment around us, and we need to foster a mentality of “thinking globally and acting locally” to ensure that our regional bugaboos don’t travel downstream and multiply.