pile of wild fish

Invasive Species (Asian Carp)

Asian Carp

The poten­tial intro­duc­tion of the inva­sive Asian carp in the Great Lakes could cause enor­mous eco­log­i­cal dam­age to the Great Lakes ecosys­tem, pri­mar­i­ly because Asian Carp could con­sume a large share of the plank­ton that native species depend upon as food sup­ply. The U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers has pro­posed to redesign and con­tin­ue to oper­ate a key lock that could pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for Asian carp to enter the Great Lakes.


  • Decem­ber 2017

    In Decem­ber 2017, the attor­neys gen­er­al of Michi­gan, Min­neso­ta, and Penn­syl­va­nia sub­mit­ted com­ments oppos­ing the Army Corps of Engi­neers’ plan. The com­ments request­ed that the Corps close the lock to pre­vent the inva­sive Asian carp species from enter­ing the Great Lakes and poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing its ecosys­tem and econ­o­my. The attor­neys gen­er­al high­light­ed the Corps’ own analy­sis which con­clud­ed that clos­ing the lock is the most cost effec­tive, reli­able option for stop­ping the spread of Asian carp.

Com­mer­cial Ves­sel Inci­den­tal Dis­charge Act


  • Feb­ru­ary 2017

    In Feb­ru­ary 2017, attor­neys gen­er­al from ten states across the coun­try wrote to U.S. Sen­ate lead­ers oppos­ing the pro­posed Com­mer­cial Ves­sel Inci­den­tal Dis­charge Act.” The leg­is­la­tion would pre­vent states from lim­it­ing com­mer­cial ships’ dis­charge of bal­last water con­tain­ing non-native, inva­sive aquat­ic species that have sig­nif­i­cant eco­log­i­cal, health, recre­ation­al, and eco­nom­ic risks and impacts.

  • April 2018

    In April 2018, the U.S. Sen­ate declined to advance leg­is­la­tion that includ­ed the Com­mer­cial Ves­sel Inci­den­tal Dis­charge Act because of the con­cerns the attor­neys gen­er­al raised in their letter.

  • Decem­ber 2018

    Com­pro­mise leg­is­la­tion was ulti­mate­ly adopt­ed and signed into law at the end of 2018. The enact­ed leg­is­la­tion pre­serves the author­i­ty of the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency to estab­lish stan­dards for the dis­charge of bal­last water, while giv­ing the Unit­ed States Coast Guard the respon­si­bil­i­ty to mon­i­tor and enforce the stan­dards. Under the leg­is­la­tion, Great Lake states can also devel­op region­al Great Lake bal­last water dis­charge stan­dards for ves­sels trav­el­ing in the five lakes to counter inva­sive species.