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Cleaner Lakes

October 5, 2012
Times Leader

THE GREAT Lakes are the world's largest freshwater system. They mean a great deal to the economic vitality of the upper Midwest, if not the entire nation.

Unfortunately, the lakes have come under siege. The invaders come in the form of foreign animals and plant species.

It is no small problem. Nearly 200 exotic fish, mollusks, bacteria and other species have matriculated into the water system. Asian carp are on top of the notorious list.

That migration of unwanted intruders has wreaked much havoc, escalating into the millions of dollars worth of economic losses while train-wrecking the native ecosystems.

Many of the troublesome species are carried by ocean-going cargo vessels. If that wasn't big enough of a navigational nightmare, scientists are warning that a wide variety of more pesky organisms are lurking in the waters, waiting for opportunity to gain entry.

It's a problem that will likely worsen before the Great Lakes sees any improvement. To that end, federal grants may help remedy the situation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is distributing $8 million among 21 universities and non-profit organizations to step up research on invasive species. Moreover, the funding will emphasize the refining techniques that detect their DNA in water.

Such action is obviously needed.

If left unchecked, an already disturbing problem spirals out of control. Taking it another step further, the research money will help create alarms to signal when invasions are taking place and new ways of controlling those already under way.

With so many universities and entities involved in the research, fueled by a hefty stipend, we believe much can be done to alleviate the problem while also retarding future invasions.

The U.S. EPA has been misguided in the past. Its clean air policies have wreaked havoc in the Ohio Valley. In this instance, we are on board with the EPA's crusade.

 
 

 

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