In recent days, the Chicago River’s ecology has made news from the potential threat of the Asian Carp.  The Supreme Court just rejected an emergency order that might prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through the Chicago River.  The Army Corps of Engineers prorposed to install nets in two Chicago-area rivers and to expedite a study of permanent steps to head off an invasion by bighead and silver carp.  These proposed methods costs as high as $9.5 billion.

Asian Carp in Lake Michigan
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employees hold an Asian carp fish

Historically, the Chicago river was toxic and marine life could not sustainably populate in the river.  Although, the river remains polluted, after the reversing the flow of the river in 1900, the Chicago River became cleaner and habitable for marine life.

Ecologists are concerned about the carp invading the Chicago River like it has destroyed marine life in the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The high-flying carp is a threat to Chicago River and the Great Lakes, because the fish can grow to be up to 100 pounds, 4 feet long and it can reproduce at rapid rate.Unfortunately, the carp would wipe out resources and endanger other marine life like the Pacific salmon and lake trout. It is still recommended that the fish should not be eaten; particularly, the invasive silver and bighead carp, which population has exponentially increased in the past years.

Take a look at this “Carp Attack” in Spoon River in West Central Illinois.