The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has put out a global call to the public, offering $1 million for the best proposal to stop invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.
These carp are the ones everyone knows from videos of big fish jumping in the air when startled by passing boats. They are fast-growing filter feeders that can reach weights up to 100 pounds, and they are highly prolific, producing as many as a million eggs. They have the potential to disrupt entire ecosystems, and have been called an immediate and grave biological threat to the Great Lakes.
Currently, silver and bighead carp are backed up in Chicago waterways just 10 miles from Lake Michigan at three electric barriers. Despite these barriers and rotenone treatments, which kill all fish species in an area, environmental DNA testing suggests that some silver and bighead carp have made it past the barriers toward Lake Michigan.
Researchers predict bighead and silver carp pose a significant threat to disrupt the food chain that supports the native fish of the Great Lakes, such as walleye, yellow perch and lake whitefish. Such a disruption may result in diminished recreational and commercial fishing opportunities.
The Associated Press reports that the federal government recently approved $42 million to prevent these carp from reaching the Great Lakes.
If you are the one with the million-dollar idea that will stop the scourge, submit proposals at www.michigan.gov.