Add Mike DeWine to those calling for a complete separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins to prevent the invasion of Asian carp and other nonnative species into the lakes. The Ohio attorney general took his stand at a public hearing in Cleveland last week concerning the recent report on the basins by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
DeWine noted that the report offers a set of actions without identifying which should be the preferred course. That isn’t good enough, was the message he sent, rightly arguing for what is described as “complete hydrologic separation.”
Without question, that is an expensive option, the Corps putting the cost at $18.5 billion, requiring 25 years to finish. Others have calculated a somewhat lower price tag.
Then, as DeWine stressed, there is the matter of a lesser alternative that fails to keep the voracious carp from upsetting the ecosystem of the Great Lakes, a natural treasure and economic engine for the region. DeWine described the result as a “disaster,” as “irreversible,” with a detrimental economic impact “conservatively estimated to be in the billions.”
In other words, that $18.5 billion would be well spent, especially with the burden shared across the eight Great Lakes states.