UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

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Carp Eradication Funding Bill Gains Traction in Senate

Carp Eradication Funding Bill Gains Traction in Senate

A bill that provides more funding to combat the spread of Asian carp in Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley has won approval in the U.S. Senate and now goes to a House and Senate Conference Committee for its consent. Differences, if there are any, will be ironed out in that committee, then another vote will be taken by the Senate and House of Representatives on the Conference Report. Once passed, it will go to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

The bill was offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell following recent meetings in Washington, D.C. and western Kentucky where the main topics of discussion were the proliferation of Asian carp in the Ohio and Mississippi River drainages, and lakes of the Tennessee River and Cumberland River systems in particular.

In Eddyville, Ky., local political leaders, tourism personnel, FLW representatives, anglers, representatives of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and organizers of the “War on Carp” effort in western Kentucky and Tennessee met with Congressman James Comer for a congressional field briefing. Comer, who represents Kentucky’s first Congressional district, was shown a presentation similar to the one made in Washington during a meeting that involved FLW Senior Director of Tournament Operations Bill Taylor.

Among the panel that presented to Comer were Allen Brown from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mark Giakowski from the U.S. Geological Survey, Ron Brooks from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Randy Newcomb from the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Bobby Wilson from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

The meeting in Washington addressed by Taylor was attended by a panel of representatives from the Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI) Mississippi River Basin Program and Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA). Speakers discussed the disastrous effects of the spread of Asian carp in the Ohio River and Mississippi River basins and Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, as well as the need for more federal funding to reduce the carp population.

Other representatives at the Washington meeting included legislative staff members, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service MICRA Coordinator Greg Conover, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources aquatic invasive species specialist Nick Frohnauer, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Director Ron Brooks, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy ARD Fisheries, Midwest Region Aaron Woldt.

According to a release from Senator McConnell’s office, provisions of his appropriations bill direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to focus efforts on combating the threat of the invasive Bighead and Silver carp in Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake in particular. The legislation would also earmark $11 million dollars channeled through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service toward Asian carp eradication projects. That represents a $600,000 increase from 2018.

The infestation of Asian carp in waters of the U.S. is seen as a major threat to native fisheries and tourism. Since the mid 70s, tens of millions of dollars have been spent by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corp of Engineers to eliminate the carp, or at least slow their spread. 

 

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