The Asian carp are coming!

In yesterday’s post (January 3, 2010), my tongue-in-cheek list of New Year’s resolutions included a solid commitment to angle for Asian carp in the Great Lakes. The tongue-out-of-cheek fact is that there are–most likely–very few Asian carp in the Great Lakes–for now. That’s a good thing. If they manage to enter Lake Michigan in large numbers, they could devastate the Great Lakes’s ecosystem and destroy the region’s fishing industry.

I believe that this is a dramatization.

A highly prolific family of species with insatiable appetites and vacuum-cleaner-like eating systems, the giant carp were imported to the South in the 1970’s to clean up out-of-control pond algae, and have become a nightmarish infestation themselves. Somehow—some say because of the huge floods a couple of decades ago—they were able to enter the Mississippi River system, which they’ve found very hospitable indeed. So much so that they have completely dominated large stretches of the Mississippi and its tributaries by propagating like flies and hoovering up all of the available food, starving out natives species.

They’ve made their way north at a fifty-mile per year pace and now are very, very close to Lake Michigan.

I’ll let Great Lakes advocate and legal expert Noah Hall supply the details about why this is happening (Surprise–the EPA screwed up!)  and the legal moves being taken to block the gargantuan gobblers’ ingress to Lake Michigan. Also a good Scientific American article here and one from the NY Times here. Below is Part 1 of a two-part YouTube video about the situation.

Advertisements’s New Year’s Resolutions!

Like the “Fifty things to do before you die” lists, New Year’s resolutions are driven by a nagging, narcissistic dissatisfaction that feels an awful lot like guilt. But the “fifty things” lists are more ambitious than the typical beginning-of-the-year vows to go to the gym five times a week and organize your iTunes library. They’re usually based on the premise that you’re, if not affluent, at least comfortably middle-class, and are convinced that no life is well lived until one has, for example, scaled K2, jammed on a violin over the Hungarian minor scale with a blown-away Yo Yo Ma, taught English to the grateful inhabitants of Lesotho, made perfect soft-boiled eggs at several different altitudes, and impressed residents of Beijing with flawless Mandarin.

Of course, the must-do lists of the billion or so poor of the planet are no doubt less ambitious but more immediate: Get access to clean water before I die, eat before I die, get decent medical care before I die, etc. Everything’s relative.

This year, I’ve decided to come up with a hybrid of the two sorts of list, water related of course: Ten New Year’s Resolutions to Do Before I Die. Rather than just bore the reader with my self-involved and possibly grandiose goals, I’ve linked each item to a compelling–and in some cases fascinating–bit of information about everyone’s favorite sugar-free beverage.

  1. Collaborate with Dr. Peter Gleick to put a stop to the gargantuan, insane, destined-to-fail desalination project moving relentlessly forward in Southern California.
  2. Help Matt Damon move mountains.
  3. Get myself appointed Obama’s special peace envoy to broker settlements to supposedly imminent water wars.
  4. Work feverishly with NASA scientists to figure out how to efficiently transport moon water to Earth.
  5. Save the salmon!
  6. Fish for Asian carp in the Great Lakes.
  7. Work with Willie Nelson to develop an iPhone app version of his home water-from-air system.
  8. Jet-ski the Golden Age Lake!
  9. Join up with Food & Water Watch. (This may be the only attainable goal on this list.)
  10. Not go for months without posting.