Star Tribune: Minnesotans ‘won't forgive today's officeholders for their inaction on invasive carp’

A pile of silver carp.

Masses of invasive silver carp could be in the future for Minnesota if decision-makers don't act quickly. (Photo by Invasive Carp Regional Coordinating Committee)

What will the state’s waterways look like if legislators and agency leaders don’t approve an invasive carp barrier this session? Leave it to acclaimed Star Tribune outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson to paint a distressing picture

Anderson in a recent column brings readers to the year 2035, where a “carp-ridden” Minnesota River watershed is the direct result of officeholders’ failure to act today. 

“Now, within 50 miles of Mankato, you can't fire up a 3-horse Evinrude without being smacked in the noggin by a 20-pound [silver carp],” Anderson writes of this impending future.

On land, an “enraged public” is dead set on immortalizing the 2023 Legislature's “inability, or unwillingness, to approve a carp sound and bubble barrier at Lock and Dam 5 on the Mississippi, which experts had advised.”

Anderson’s column makes a compelling, forceful case for state legislators, DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen and other decision-makers to support funding for an invasive carp barrier before the legislative session wraps up in May. It’s the solution FMR and other members of the Stop Carp Coalition have been advocating for at the Capitol, while urging the DNR to stop dragging its feet and take advantage of a historic financial opportunity. 

The very real testimony of University of Minnesota professor and carp expert Dr. Peter Sorensen on March 22, 2023, “should have sealed the barrier deal for lawmakers,” Anderson continues in his piece. But in a version of 2035 where elected officials ignore this warning, “all that remains among everyone in Minnesota — politician, policymaker or citizen — is regret.”

Yet so far, despite a record budget surplus, an unprecedented catch of invasive carp near Lock and Dam 5, and an impending ecological crisis if the carp were to spread, lawmakers haven’t proposed the funding this project needs.

Read the full column by Dennis Anderson in Sunday’s Star Tribune.

Also make sure to check out the letters to the editor from both FMR and the National Parks Conservation Association that ran in the Star Tribune on April 5.

You can tell decision-makers to support a carp barrier

There’s still time for state lawmakers and officeholders to come together and support funding for an invasive carp barrier during this legislative session. As Sorensen told a Senate committee last month, it’s not too late to protect Minnesota’s waters — but “there's considerable urgency and we should move quickly on this."

Tell your state legislators not to abdicate their responsibility to protect Minnesota’s waterways and our outdoor recreation economy from invasive carp.

More recent news stories about invasive carp

Anderson’s tale of near-future ecofiction is just the latest in a flood of news stories highlighting the increasingly desperate need for a carp barrier. 

  • “Why capturing 30 invasive carp on Mississippi River near Winona is significant,” wrote FOX 9 after the DNR revealed the recent record catch of invasive carp near Winona, Minnesota — just downstream of the proposed barrier.
  • Jeff Forester of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates told KARE 11: “It’s time. There’s no doubt that this is the year, this is the legislative session to take action.” 
  • In the Red Wing Republican Eagle, reporter Melissa Thorud says increasing numbers of invasive carp “could have an impact on the tourism that the river brings to small river towns.” The paper’s story about invasive carp  was also the most popular on the site over the weekend. 
  • Outdoor News noted “several people suggested that it’s crucial to get the bill passed in order to start working on the deterrent to prevent their further upstream spread.”

MPR News, WCCO, KSTP, Valley News Live, the Rochester Post Bulletin and other outlet also covered the recent developments.

Explore all of our Land Use & Planning updates.

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