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Editor Craig della more and this is at issue we're told are home to some thirty five hundred species of plants and animals and in addition to the recreation and tourism on the lakes they provide essentials like food drinking water and jobs so what's got the experts worried Asian carp and the need for people in industries to pay attention to the problem joining me here in the studio are Andrea Densham the senior director of constraints are vacation policy at the Shedd aquarium and Jacqueline Wagner the head of conservation action at the Sheraton thanks to both of you for being here thanks for having us well people hear about the threat of Asian carp getting into the lakes occasionally but except for actions by the US army corps of engineers to block the car from as far away from the Great Lakes as possible there's not a lot of public talk about what's being done or the dangers so every intention tell me a bit about what the shed and the Great Lakes business network we're doing at that the invitation only meeting and what prompted it absolutely I so one of the core elements what we're trying to do is grow the impact of business leaders to advance really smart conservation policy this is what we hope to be a beginning of a series of forms on conservation policy issues and the role that business leaders across the Great Lakes basin and by nationally and have to advance important conservation issues Asian carp is one of those issues invasive species is is another at that's related to that but there many many others we very much wanted to use this as an opportunity to kick that off we hope to be able to work in partnership not only with the Great Lakes business network but with our colleagues the alliance for the Great Lakes and the national wildlife federation to continue to grow these kind of activities and clearly Asian carp is one of the critical on concerns we have right now it is growing closer and closer to Lake Michigan and we know from the university of Michigan study a couple months ago that if it finds its way into the Great Lakes it will reproduce soon and continue to have a devastating impact we can stop it though and we have all the powers and tools to do that so we're talking with the business leaders but how they can amplify their voice and how they can have an impact in a Jacqueline Wagner and presumably the business is participating in all this brainstorming are instrumental to the action part of of this equation so what's being done no what has been done by business so far and what kinds of need to be done and I mean will go into more depth but basically what's the mission here so for many years we have partnered with businesses to encourage them to take on sustainable practices other kind of walking the talk and with some of the more recent meetings including the the meeting this past week with Great Lakes business network or trying to get them to actually share their voice and and what their concern is I'm so for close to twenty years we've had a sustainable seafood program at Shattuck Merriam where we work directly with local restaurants to improve their menus and find ways that they can sources denoble seafood and that is one of the ways that we can make a big impact on local waterways and and the health of the oceans is by making sure we're not over fishing any populations that are under threat finally this is kind of one of those crossovers with the topic with Asian carp because a lot of people look to Asian carp as a potential food item and there are some people some restaurants in some suppliers that try to get invasive Asian carp and figure out creative ways to eat it and and use that as a way to eradicate it or or totally should kind of deal with this impending issue in in our region that's not really a large scalable solution at this time but I was going to say yeah halogen to think of recipes for car because they have so that they have so many bones yeah a lot of people make cart burgers which are pretty tasty and that's that's one opportunity and that's primarily really good educational tool for us to begin to talk about invasive species including Asian carpet it is not the solution for a radic hating is as Jacqueline just sighed in and the really primary goal for this event and the for the future forms are to educate our business leaders across the Great Lakes basin about how they can amplify their voice as as business leaders with elected officials so it's that connection of educating of it what Jacqueline steam does of educating the public and the business leaders about issues and then helping them learn how to use their voice with teams like mine with elected officials to have a greater impact and make sure we're talking about the sixteen billion dollars in tourism that the Great Lakes it in advance is each year in the seven billion dollars in the and are greatly expatriates there's a really substantial amounts of resources towards our Great Lakes economies and we need to remember to bring that to our elected officials when they're trying to make decisions on how to move forward I think what we do need to establish for for people who are listening who keep hearing Asian carp bad shouldn't get here what happens if they do why do I I think we need to set the you know why is this a matter of urgency since I don't think people here it into our terms of urgency all that often absolutely we you know one of the things I care emergy our director fresh water fish said while she was presenting on Monday was it's really important we think about in bases generally once in a vases of in in a community whether it's and whether it's buckthorn that's that something growing or muscles like zebra mussels in our Great Lakes in especially Asian carp it's almost impossible to remove it while it's there what we know about Asian carp the reason why it's incredibly concerning is that they can eat between twenty and forty percent of their only own body weight each day that's what's happening in in the Mississippi River basin which is a which abuts the Great Lakes and you know at this point in the Great Lakes basin the Asian carp about seventy nine percent of the biomass of fish in the river right now so they are eating up and destroying all of the native fish that Jacqueline was just talking about we need to restore those native fish in order for our Great Lakes fisheries again which is a seven billion dollar economy each year for the Great Lakes in order for that to continue to take sustain itself and thrive we need to make sure we keep Asian carp out is it just a matter of of of marine life or sealife there there are a lot of fresh water I don't know what to call it but anyway is it a matter of just keeping a variety of that life therefore for fisheries and what are the other impacts that you know Asian carbon invasive species can have that would affect things like tourism and recreation and such all of biodiversity is really critical to our region and that you mentioned in your introduction that the Great Lakes are home to about thirty five hundred native plants and animals and we really you know as the aquarium we are a voice for the animals that are out there that need to thrive in in our environment and so we it's critical that we maintain biodiversity injury was talking a little bit about invasive species and once they get real in an ecosystem how how harmful that can be and one of the projects that my team has been working on is bringing volunteers to local forest preserves to remove buckthorn which a lot of people are familiar with as a as a brush invasive species once boxer and takes hold in a forest preserve it chokes out all of the native plants and really becomes what's called a mono culture so it's one plant just Buck foreign and a whole forest preserve I which really doesn't provide a lot of variety for food and habitat for different wild life that's what we're doing is taking volunteers out to clear out that box horn and revitalize different environments and then we are all working with our research team to study the impact of that and an increase in biodiversity following the removal of that invasive species as you might imagine that is very resource intensive it takes a lot of time and it also takes a lot of diligence to continue to go back and keep that box or an out on the Great Lakes have also seen hundreds of invasive species enter the Great Lakes over the last couple hundred years as we've been building canals and bringing our eyes see ballast water into the Great Lakes and and through those routes in fact introducing invasive species and so we've also we've already seen a lot of damage from those invasive species that have ended up in the Great Lakes and we are trying to you know kind of prevent and and so that we don't have to try to manage it after that so it's it's definitely a challenge in prevention efforts can work we've learned from the experiences with ballast water how to do it better and it we're at a point right now where we're generally keeping out invasive due to the really smart science driven interventions to keep those vows water's clean and help the shipping industry continue to move there in important on pieces of the economy through our region but in a safe way so we can do this these type of things in a safe way when we bring science to to bear I think the biodiversity issue is incredibly important addressing Asian carp in making sure it doesn't get in is the first step the next step is restoring the health and vitality of our Great Lakes will our colleague we work across the Great Lakes basin our colleague representative Debbie Dingell has advanced are great bill called forge fishing forge Fisher the little fish that are in the food chain that need to be there them little native fish in order for our big white fish and other fish that we love to eat at dinner like our walleyes and our trout we don't have those little forage fish were not able to eat the rest of those and our and our Great Lakes fishery and that economy isn't able to grow so we need to help support not only preventing bad things from happening but restoring the damage that has happened and rebuilding the bio diversity in our Great Lakes should I be surprised that there would be a project from the Shedd aquarium the would be on land removing Buck thorn the I appreciate that specific to the will to water no seriously though that's that tells us something about we are how broad the the impact is well my first reaction is that of course everything is related and connected you know so the Chicago River is connected to the Great Lakes which is connected to the Saint Lawrence river which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean and so all of these systems are you can't just be looked at as there as if they're in a bubble they're all connected and so on you would there all we are yeah they can have an impact on each other them but as for us doing that forest preserve work a few years ago we had a temporary exhibit highlighting amphibians of the world and we wanted to take action to protect our local amphibians sees me ends so there are ephemeral wetlands in the forest preserves that are really important for us to restore and ephemeral means their their seasonal so that you know especially in our rainy seasons we have plans that that form in the forest preserves and that is the breeding ground for local amphibians like blue spotted salamanders and spring peepers an American toads.

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