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Is invasive species regulation in the Great Lakes through an interstate compact the appropriate regulatory mechanism for regulating such regional natural resources?

Based on the article brief R41082: Asian Carp and the Great Lakes Basin. Jan. 23, 2014, it seems that the regulation of invasive species in the Great Lakes via the interstate compact is not appropriate. It really needs to be handled on a Federal level. In fact, the article states that “The federal government has also been engaged in long-term, nationwide planning and management of Asian carp under authorities codified in the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-646, as amended) and other statutes.” The article discusses current situation in which Michigan lost their case with the Supreme Court when they tried to avoid an invasive species by blocking The Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) into the Great Lakes. Clearly, the relationships are damaged between the states. Further, the bodies of water boarder another country (Canada) an require a higher level of approach. There needs to be efforts between both Canada and the US. Many states that do not boarder the Great Lakes receive water from the region and the health of the water has a high interest for the entire country. This area is a large source of revenue as owning fresh water is a resource for the entire country. According to the article, “It has been widely reported that Great Lakes fisheries generate economic activity of approximately $7 billion annually.”


The Asian Carp expansion across the nation has been a growing concern for the Great Lakes. While there have been many studies conducted concerning the effects of Asian Carp inhabiting the Great Lakes none of them have been totally inclusive or majority accepted by both sides of this issue. Solutions to the invasion of Asian Carp could potentially cost either side millions to billions of dollars.

This issue does not only effect Illinois or Michigan either, many of the surrounding states have a stake in keeping the Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. As does Canada, whose coastline includes Great Lakes frontage. I should also mention that the introduction of the Asian Carp to the US and the waterways that lead to the Great Lakes was not through the actions of the states currently involved. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility in Arizona where they escaped introduced the Asian Carp to the U.S.

With so many states involved and another country, I do not think an interstate compact is an appropriate regulatory mechanism. The federal government should be taking the lead on this issue as they have the authority to enforce regulations in each state and work with the Canadian government. Not to mention many of the solutions will affect the national economy in some way.