Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 21, 2014

Asian carp meeting planned

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse area residents can weigh in on the Asian carp debate during a public meeting Thursday.

The meeting is one of nine scheduled in cities as far away as New Orleans following the release this month of an Army Corps of Engineers report about options for preventing invasive species like Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through Mississippi River basin waterways.

“My sense is they are interested in finding kind of a broad consensus among the Great Lakes basin on what the best options are for dealing with the pathways,” Mark Breederland, an educator with the Michigan Sea Grant Extension, said of Thursday’s meeting.

The report offered eight strategies ranging from doing nothing new to extensively altering the complex waterways in the Chicago area. Some of the strategies would take 25 years and billions of dollars to complete.

Dave Wethington, project manager for the Army Corps, said it’s not yet clear what strategy is best.

“Right now we’re still kind of undecided,” he said. “I think a lot of it will have to do with what the public and other stakeholders like state and federal agencies, as well as congressional members, have to say about the report.”

The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Hagerty Center. It includes a short presentation on the eight strategies, followed by more than two hours set aside for public comment, according to the study’s website.

The only other meeting scheduled to take place in Michigan will occur today in Ann Arbor. The Ann Arbor meeting will be broadcast over the Internet. Visit the report section of for instructions on how to access the online broadcast.

Breederland expected high attendance at the Traverse City meeting Thursday. He said local residents showed up in droves when the Army Corp hosted a series of study kickoff meetings in 2011.