Last week, a federal court in Chicago heard testimony from dozens of experts ranging from biologists to economists in an attempt to discern whether the continued operation of the Chicago area locks represents a “public nuisance” to our neighbors in the Great Lakes region. While we’ll have to wait weeks for the judge’s ruling on the legal questions at hand, scientific and economic testimony painted a clear picture – lock closure is expensive and the benefits are, at best, unknown; at worst, non-existent.
Proponents of closing down the waterways have long implied if a lone Asian carp makes it into the Great Lakes the war is lost, along with billions of dollars in economic activity related to fishing. Expert testimony this week, however, brought those assertions into question. In fact, the majority of testimony from experts during the hearing, as well as recent studies from researchers, illustrate a growing consensus among experts that Asian carp will likely be unable to easily establish a sustainable population in the Great Lakes.