TERRE HAUTE —
Asian carp do not belong in Indiana’s beloved Wabash River.
Yet, the invasive fish are thriving in it, to the detriment of the river’s natural aquatic wildlife. The bighead and silver carp species devour the plankton and algae crucial to the native Wabash fish, threatening to break its centuries-old food chain. A generation ago, boaters often towed water skiers, skimming atop the Wabash for fun. Few people attempt skiing on it these days, lest they get hit by the leaping carp.
Their exploits make entertaining YouTube videos. Agitated by boat motors, the carp — which can measure 4 feet in length and 90 pounds in weight — pop up, often landing inside the watercraft, colliding with the pilot or passengers. After one or two encounters, though, the novelty of Asian carp wears off. People who love to experience the Wabash waters regularly do not enjoy their presence.
Nobody invited them into this river. The carp were imported to clear fisheries in the South, escaped into the Mississippi River valley in the 1980s and ’90s, and migrated north to the Wabash about a decade ago. The jumping, aggressive critters have made themselves at home here, starving out native fish.
They are, like the John Belushi character in an old “Saturday Night Live” skit, “the things that wouldn’t leave.”
Thus, we share the disappointment of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who criticized a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on options for controlling Asian carp in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basin. The study details possibilities for keeping the carp from entering the Great Lakes through Mississippi River tributaries. It provided no remedies for the already-invaded Wabash.
The Army Corps responded to Zoeller’s complaints by pointing out that Congress authorized the study, mandating it focus on the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. The study does explain preventive work done at Eagle Marsh, a Fort Wayne area site where Wabash flooding could send Asian carp into the Maumee River, a Lake Erie tributary, Dave Wethington, an Army Corps project manager, told the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Wethington acknowledged Zoeller’s argument that Indiana inherited the problem and deserves federal help to fix it, but added an important suggestion. Indiana might get more efficient results by organizing a state and local strategy.
Given Indiana leadership’s recent track record of refusing to participate in federal programs, the phrase “what goes around comes around” comes to mind. Let’s stick to the virtues of the high road, though. Zoeller is absolutely correct about the harm caused to the Wabash by Asian carp and the urgency to eradicate them. He delivered one of the most admirable, hands-on examples of Hoosier public service ever last summer when he toured the Wabash by boat on his vacation time, studying the situation firsthand and talking with people in river communities. His concerns should be heeded.
The snub in the Army Corps report should be met with action. Members of the Indiana Legislature, especially those from Wabash communities, should lay the groundwork for a strategy to save the river from an aquatic menace during the 2014 session that began Tuesday. They should invite members of the Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission and Purdue University biologists to the Statehouse to share information and prepare a plan of attack. The governor and lawmakers need to get familiar with the predicament, adhere to the experts’ advice and commit funds to carry it out.
If federal money is absolutely necessary, then lawmakers should go to Indiana’s congressional delegation and find a senator or representative willing to fight for those dollars. Otherwise, the state should grab the Asian carp by the fins and handle this itself, full-throttle.
State, local strategy most prudent approach
TERRE HAUTE —
Asian carp do not belong in Indiana’s beloved Wabash River.
RONN MOTT: That Old Man River
I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.
EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing
It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.
READERS' FORUM: July 10, 2014
• Herb Faire a great success
• Appreciation for a ‘lovely angel’
• Thanks for stirring fireworks show
EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible
The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.
Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014
• Don’t eliminate our six-day mail
• Zamperini death stirs memories
RONN MOTT: Black Dog
We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.
Readers’ Forum: July 8, 2014
• T-S ignores common decency
• Lighten up on Donald Sterling
• Time to reject Dems in Congress
• Fueling the EPA
MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations
Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”
Readers’ Forum: July 7, 2014
• The moral issue is major issue
Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion
Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.
Readers’ Forum: July 6, 2014
• Coats ignoring climate science
• Do those mustache posters exist?
• Utility rate freeze took determination
• What perversion is next in line?
• Opinions vary, but voters will decide
• This preaching must stop — now
• Golf fundraiser a huge success
Flashpoint: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state government and defends its laws, I know this difficult case stirs many people’s deeply held beliefs that touch their lives in very personal ways. Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.
Flashpoint: The Supreme Court decision and ‘closely held’ corporations
The much awaited Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby came down this week. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) does cover “closely held” corporations, even if those corporations are for profit.
RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson
During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.
EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.
- Readers’ Forum: July 4, 2014
RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country
The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.
GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.
Readers’ Forum: July 3, 2014
• Over the top on immigration
FLASHPOINT: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
On Wednesday, the State of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
MIKE PENCE: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
Today, the state of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If approved, the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 would replace traditional Medicaid for low-income, able-bodied Hoosier adults. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which is government-driven, HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.
Editorial: Texting law serves safety
July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.
- Readers’ Forum: July 2, 2014
RONN MOTT: Cats
Looking at the situation as a whole, the adopted cats, plus one, seem to be doing OK. The boys, Magic and Mellow, like to roam occasionally, which causes some consternation when they are gone for a long time.
LIZ CIANCONE: Oldtime fans will never give up on the Cubbies
My Best Friend claims to be the world’s oldest living Cubs fan. I am willing to take him at his word, but surely there is some long-lived fan out there in the right field bleachers who would dispute his claim.
Readers’ Forum: July 1, 2014
• Defying the laws of God
• Correcting the written record
• Hands of $$ from Redevelopment
• Celebrity visit for celebration
Flashpoint: New Healthy Indiana Plan our best option
Some state-run health care exchanges — the brainchild of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — have gotten off to a rocky start, to the point that they are turning to the federal government to pick up the pieces. Indiana’s decision to try to expand the already-existing Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) in lieu of an exchange seems a more prudent choice every day.
Readers’ Forum: June 30, 2014
• Don’t be victim of home repair scam
• Ending unfair tax practices
EDITORIAL: For kids, an immediate need
If you agree that not much is sadder — and potentially more unsettling to our society — than a child torn from his or her home, here is a way you can make a difference, one kid at a time.
Readers’ Forum: June 29, 2014
• The sexual revolution strikes again
• Country sinks to new lows
• Saddened by the headlines
• Opinions not same as facts
• Letter meets with approval
• The real ‘truth’ sometimes hurts
• Applause for great musical
• Raising minimum wage hurts us
• Gratitude to camp sponsors
• More to the city’s mosquito problem
- More Opinion Headlines
- RONN MOTT: That Old Man River