BBC News – Chicago goes to war with Asian carp

 

BBC News – Chicago goes to war with Asian carp.

These fish were imported decades ago to control algae in sewage treatment ponds.  After escaping, they have spread up the Mississippi River, displacing native species.  Now they threaten the Great Lakes.

How?, you might ask, since there is no natural connection between the US’ largest river and the lakes which hold 20% of the world’s fresh water?  Why the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, of course!

Completed in 1900, the canal is the only link (via the Des Plaines River) between the lakes and the Mississippi.  It diverted Chicago’s sewage from the lakes (where they got their drinking water) to the river, which carried it away from the city.

The Canal is a vital link in the transportation system in the US, allowing goods from all over the world to move freely between the lakes and the river.  Proposals to close the canal to prevent the carp from invading the lakes are on the table, but

…from an economic standpoint it will affect shipping that folks in the UK and other parts of the world might rely on to get their goods and services here because they are going to cost more to transport.”

How to keep the lakes carp free?  There are no easy answers.  Closing the canal would result in higher transport costs for too many people, while another invasive species in the Great Lakes is seen as the cost of globalization.

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The Dead Zone – not the movie

 

via Mississippi runoff expands Gulf ‘dead zone’ | TG Daily.

It’s currently about 3,300 square miles, or roughly the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, but researchers at Texas A & M University say it’s likely to become much larger.

Due to the massive amounts of runoff from the major flooding, the dead zone in the Gulf Of Mexico is expected to reach almost twice it’s usual size.  Right now its one-third of it’s anticipated maximum.  The large amounts of fertilizer and sediment in the runoff contribute to algae growth in the gulf.  The algae die, and their decomposition uses up all the oxygen in the water.  As a result, nothing can live in the “Dead Zone.”

 

River Unleashed

Vodpod videos no longer available.

An even better video ishere, part 2 here, but I can’t embed it, just click the link to watch the spillway flood when the gate is opened.

Wikimapia has some info and of course a map here.

This is supposed to relieve pressure on the river levees, and prevent flooding downstream  But it will flood the Atchafalaya River Basin, and take 3 days to reach the Gulf at Morgan City.


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