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Michigan hails judge's move in Asian carp fight against Chicago

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Silver and bighead carp have been working their way up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers for years, but haven’t yet – to anyone’s knowledge – established a population in the Great Lakes. Scientists worry that if they do, they could wreak havoc on populations of prized fish like salmon and walleye, both through decimating their food source and by eating their larvae and eggs.

Bighead carp can grow to more than 100 pounds, and silver carp are known for leaping 10 feet out of the water – a major danger to recreational boaters.

“They’re sort of living missiles,” says David Lodge, a biologist at the University of Notre Dame who has done research locating the carp DNA in the waterways near Lake Michigan.

In their bid to close the locks, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Ohio have filed suit against Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Still, opponents of the lawsuit have stressed that just one fish has been found in 10 months of searching, and say that closing the O’Brien and Chicago Locks would have drastic economic ramifications without any guarantee of keeping the carp out.

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