November 12, 2008
IJC commends The Alliance for the Great Lakes for effort to stop movement of invasive species through the Chicago Waterway System
The International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States (IJC) commends The Alliance for the Great Lakes for leading an initiative to eliminate the movement of invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through the Chicago Waterway System. The effort is described in a report entitled Preliminary Feasibility of Ecological Separation on the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes to Prevent the Transfer of Aquatic Invasive Species that was released today.
The IJC has noted that invasive species are perhaps the foremost threat to the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem. The impact of invasive species already in the system, from the sea lamprey to the zebra mussel, serve as harbingers of the economic and environmental costs to come if this crucial threat is not controlled.
"We must find a way to stop Asian Carp and other species before they use the Chicago Sanitary Canal to invade the entire Great Lakes system that is shared by Canada and the United States," stated Herb Gray, Canadian Section chair of the International Joint Commission.
The IJC strongly supports the maintenance of the electric fish dispersal barrier and construction of a second electrical barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, but recognizes the limitations of these measures. While not endorsing any specific long-term strategy, the IJC is impressed with the creative effort to engage as many stakeholders as possible and to carefully examine a range of actions to stop the movement of invasive species between the two watersheds while taking the economic and social dimensions into account.
"This science-based, multi-stakeholder process serves as an impressive model for others to follow," said Irene Brooks, U.S. Section chair of the International Joint Commission.
The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments. Among its responsibilities, the IJC assesses progress in the United States and Canada to restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity to the Great Lakes under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.