Except this is no joke, and it’s not a Godzilla monster.
It’s the Asian Carp.
The Plain Dealer editorial appears here, and below are some extracts. Mark your calendar for Thursday, Jan. 16. The Army Corps of Engineers will host a public meeting at the Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Avenue, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The carp cometh. (Marlin Levison, The Star Tribune)
The pending carpocalypse of the Great Lakes
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- the same folks who have come up with endless ways to delay action on the threatened invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes -- seem determined to institutionalize that failure with a new report that obscures the need for immediate action beneath an avalanche of "risk matrix" and "cost methodology."
But you can stop the Corps from turning the Great Lakes into a corpse.
Circle Thursday, Jan. 16, on the calendar. The Corps will host a public meeting at the Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Avenue, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The topic: Their Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study, a wishy-washy "We could do this, we could do that" strategy that skims over the half-measures that have allowed the silver and bighead carp -- the most serious threats these 20,000-year-old liquid assets have faced -- to gain a finhold in the largest freshwater ecosystem on the continent.
The five glacial lakes provide drinking water to 30 million people and float a $7.5 billion commercial fishing industry and 800,000 jobs.
Then there is the tourism. In Ohio alone, Lake Erie recreation and tourism net an estimated $11.5 billion annually and support more than 117,000 jobs, according to state statistics.
And yet, the Corps apparently could care less about what happens in Cleveland or Milwaukee or Buffalo -- especially if it means upsetting President Barack Obama's Chicago shipping industry cronies.
The study -- which took seven years, millions of dollars and a bipartisan boot-in-the-butt by Congress to produce -- offers eight options, beginning with the laughable suggestion that the Corps continues its current do-nothing tactic by relying on the electric barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Carp, er, Ship Canal that its own research has proven ineffective.
. . .
And then -- buried near the bottom [of the study] -- is the only obvious solution to stop the carp as well as other invasive species from gutting the Great Lakes: Hydrological separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
Cost: $18.3 billion.
And worth every penny.
Great Lake governors, local, state and federal elected officials, scientists, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and the Ohio Environmental Council all endorse that plan.
Now it time to make your voice heard. Tell the Corps why the Great Lakes mean so much to you. Personalize the relationship.
Attend the Jan. 16 meeting at the Cleveland Public Library. Then ask the Corps officials and other officials who will be present the tough questions:
1. Hydrological separation is the only strategy that meets the congressional mandate to protect the Great Lakes and it's expensive, yet so is doing nothing. Are our lakefront elected representatives including Reps. Marcy Kaptur and David Joyce and Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman prepared to fight for this money? What about Ohio Gov. John Kasich? Spending hundreds of thousands of federal dollars on the Great Lakes Initiative annually will be a wasted investment if the lakes' fisheries and recreational attractions are laid waste by predatory carp.
2. Given that the Corps' own research confirms that the electric barriers are ineffective and that the physical separation of the two water systems will require extensive and time-consuming work, can Corps officials describe in detail the technologies and any physical barriers they are prepared to implement quickly to prevent the carp from entering the Great Lakes before the watersheds are separated?
3. Considering the urgency of the threat, how soon will Corps officials pledge to have a plan in place to separate the two watersheds? When will the actual separation work begin?
Getting unambiguous answers to these questions is critical for Northeast Ohio and all Great Lakes communities.
THE MEETING: Thursday, Jan. 16 / Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Avenue / 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.