Asian carp jumping out of the Illinois River near Havana, IL.

By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel
Sept. 8, 2010

Chicago — The pioneer of controversial "environmental" DNA tests that indicated Asian carp were getting closer to Lake Michigan testified Tuesday that he warned Illinois and federal officials not to waste $1.5 million poisoning a river just south of Chicago last spring, but he was ignored.

University of Notre Dame professor David Lodge said in the days just before the planned poisoning that his lab had received fresh DNA results saying there were no carp in the area.

"We advised them not to go forward because our most recent results didn't give us confidence that there were (Asian carp) in there," Lodge testified Tuesday in a federal suit brought by a coalition of Great Lakes states that are suing to force the federal government to do more to protect Lake Michigan from the carp.

During a break in the testimony, Lodge told the Journal Sentinel that the people planning the May poisoning told him they were too far along to call it off.

Col. Vincent Quarles of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said during a break that he could not comment and referred questions to a Department of Justice spokesman in Washington, D.C. That spokesman said he did not know enough about the details to comment at this time.

The Army Corps is a defendant in a federal lawsuit under way in Chicago.

The repeated DNA tests that since November have shown carp beyond an electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal are a point of contention because politicians outside Illinois said they were enough evidence to warrant temporarily closing two Chicago navigation locks, creating a barrier between the carp-infested Mississippi River basin and Lake Michigan.

Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are plaintiffs in an ongoing suit that seeks temporary emergency lock closures, except in emergencies, such as floods. The suit also seeks a permanent separation between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi basin that the Chicago canals destroyed more than a century ago. …

Expert says he advised against river poisoning



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