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Representative Mike Kelly Hosts Briefing on the Threat of Asian Carp in the Ohio River Watershed
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) and U.S. Senator Pat Toomey hosted a briefing today to discuss ongoing efforts to combat Asian carp in the Ohio River Watershed. Pennsylvania and other states are facing unprecedented threats and impacts from burgeoning populations of Asian carp in the mainstem and tributaries of the Ohio River, which would dramatically impact local and regional economies and ecologies.
The briefing included background on the status, projections, potential impacts, and current and pending efforts to prevent the spread and minimize the impact of Asian carp in the Ohio River Watershed. Presenters included representatives from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Council on Environmental Quality.
“The threat of Asian Carp to Western Pennsylvania’s waterways is significant and would have devastating effects on our economy and environment,” said Rep. Kelly. “We must act today to address the threats of tomorrow through an aggressive and collaborative strategy that involves the most effective and time-tested means to slow the spread and ultimately eradicate the Asian Carp.”
To that end, Rep. Kelly cosponsored the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act (H.R. 6385), which would involve a multiagency effort to coordinate and implement best practices used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. H.R. 6385 would also require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to submit an annual report to Congress detailing what has been done to stop the spread of Asian Carp in the Ohio River watershed.
The term "Asian carp" refers to four different species of fish: the Bighead, Grass, Silver and Black carp, which is capable of growing to seven feet in length and 150 pounds. These voracious eaters will decimate the water ecologies throughout the Ohio River Watershed if left unaddressed, feeding on everything from algae to mollusks and threatening native mussel and fish populations.