Asian Carp: Why is Mass Immigration Wonderful for Society but Catastrophic for the Natural World?



Patulcius-sqThe US government proposes to protect the Great Lakes from the invasive Asian carp.  From Fox News:

After two years of research, the Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year presented lawmakers with eight potential plans for protecting the Lakes. The proposal that’s received the most attention would physically cut-off Lake Michigan from Chicago’s waterways with a series of permanent barriers. Heartwell and others say that $18 billion plan, which is expected to take 25 years to complete, has the best shot at protecting the Lakes. [Emphasis added.]

“It’s not inexpensive but it’s a solution,” Heartwell said. “The risk of course of not doing it is that we have a multi-billion dollar sports fishing and tourism industry that would be devastated here in the Great Lakes.”

Critics of the plan though say it’s too expensive, too slow, and isn’t guaranteed to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

“The permanent barrier, depending on how simple it is or how massive it is, may not take into account some of the other waterways boats can get in,” Germann said. “It may not take into account a hundred-year flood that happens. So, I’m not sure that that’s ultimately even at the end of the day, the permanent solution.”

Chicago’s waterways are also key shipping routes for businesses to easily ship goods from the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi River, and into the Gulf of Mexico. Permanent barriers would cost commercial shippers more than $200 million per year, according to the report.

Shipping lanes closed, monumental barriers erected over the course of at least twenty-five years at the cost of billions of dollars. It has the sound of a typical government boondoggle.

But if it will really isolate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River, I support this project, even if it can’t stop the invasion of the Asian carp (which has probably already breached Chicago’s electric defenses).  Incidentally I wouldn’t mind seeing the St. Lawrence Seaway scrapped either.

For tens of thousands of years aquatic life lived in isolation within the Great Lakes, but the opening of the lakes to international commerce exposed them to one invader after another, numbering more than 180 species in all.  This invasion has accelerated since the completion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959.

While most of these invaders have made little impact on the native fauna, a few of them have wreaked havoc on the native species. Most famous of these invaders are the sea lamprey invasion of the 1930’s and 40’s and the zebra mussel invasion of the 1990’s.

An unrestricted flow of aquatic life from the St. Lawrence Seaway through the Great Lakes and through the Illinois Waterway into the Mississippi watershed only continues this vector of disruption.  How can native species be protected when the figurative doors to the rest of the world are held wide open, electric gate or no?

It is interesting that the progressive proponents of unlimited immigration so often are the greatest advocates for the preservation of even the most insignificant of local subspecies.  They see great value in natural diversity but find little value in preserving local culture, language, or religion from foreign displacement or absorption.  How can they see mass immigration as a wonderful gift to society while they recognize the harm of invasive species to the natural world?

On the other side of the political spectrum, we have free traders and libertarians who demand the unrestricted flow of cheap goods and labor to the market, and everything else will have to adapt or die.  The system of Darwinian selection will prove which natural species, or which human culture or people, is the most fit to survive.  If native species, cultures, or nations can’t cut it, then the free traders will assume that something more fit to survive has replaced them.

While I am no socialist or environmentalist zealot, I am a protectionist and conservationist.  I care about my native land and its wildlife, its distinct people (accepting that most of us are in turn an invasive species to North America) and local cultures, and the traditional civilization and religion that has built the Western World into the greatest civilization the earth has ever known.

We can take a small hit on the efficiency of commerce in order to protect our local wildlife, our local economies, and the religion, language, and culture of our local populations.

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