Lawmakers: Closing lock best option to hold back carp

St. Anthony Lock and Dam
The Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam area in Minneapolis.
Photo courtesy Ben Erickson, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory

President Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation soon that includes a plan to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock to all boat traffic within a year to prevent the spread of invasive carp.

The fish have been seen in Minnesota but there's no evidence yet that they're breeding here.

Closing the lock is the best solution available now to prevent carp from threatening Minnesota's $12 billion dollar tourism industry, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Tuesday.

Map: Aquatic invasive species spread across Minn.

"There's a lot of research going on in places all over the country," said Kloubchar, who was among the lawmakers who pushed to include the lock closure in a larger water infrastructure bill. "The University of Minnesota is doing research on how we can get rid of invasive carp and other invasive species by feeding them certain food that wouldn't kill other fish and other things, but in the meantime we need to protect our waterways, and that means closing this lock."

The lock could reopen in the future if research leads to other solutions to get rid of the invasive carp, Klobuchar added.

Even with the lock's closure, people need to do their part to stop the spread of invasive species, said DFL Rep. Keith Ellison.

"If you get your minnow bucket and carry it above the lock, that will undermine all the work we've done" to close the lock and stop the carp, Ellison said.

"We want to just urge people to be good stewards of this river and to not slip into the quiet comfort of thinking, 'Oh, well they fixed it,'" he added. "No, it's not fixed if we do not actively protect this river."

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.