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Film chronicles fight to keep invasive carp out of Great Lakes

invasive carp
National Wildlife Federation
Michigan News Connection
Asian carp are known for their jumping ability, and officials are concerned that if their numbers are allowed to grow, they could devastate the entire Great Lakes ecology.

A new film documenting the battle to prevent an invasive species of Asian carp from taking hold in the Great Lakes is drawing large numbers of viewers and rave reviews.

The film "Against the Current 2: Keeping Invasive Carp Out of the Great Lakes" is being shown on PBS stations around Michigan and is available for streaming. It is a sequel to 2020's "Against the Current," which details work done on the Brandon Road Interbasin Lock and Dam project near Chicago.

Marc Smith, policy director for the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center, said the sequel recounts the program's progress.

"Everything in conservation, and particularly on carp over the years, has been kind of negative, 'sky is falling,' giving up hope, carp are getting in there inevitably," Smith explained. "We tried to portray that in our first film. And then, this sequel was really to kind of capture the progress we've made."

The short film debuted on the program Michigan Out of Doors TV to an audience of more than 100,000 viewers. It chronicles the effort to protect some of the most at-risk Michigan waterways, using scientific models to predict the effect invasive carp populations could have on the Great Lakes.

Smith pointed out the biggest concern is Michigan and other Great Lakes states could lose hundreds of millions of dollars, between damage to fisheries and other businesses that depend on the waterways.

"We need every state in the Great Lakes to step up, and they have," Smith noted. "Michigan in particular has been leading the charge, partnering with Illinois, because that's where the Lock and Dam is located in. So those two states are leading the charge on this."

The federal government has approved a $225 million down payment toward the Brandon Road project's estimated $850 million price tag. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to award contracts to begin building the "technological gauntlet" in 2024 and complete construction by 2030.

Mark has over 30 years in the news media, where he has worked for newspapers, magazines, radio/TV and digital media. Currently based in Northern Michigan, he has also worked in Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Austin and Las Vegas, among other markets. Newsrooms include The Austin American Statesman, CBS News, The Associated Press, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dun & Bradstreet, Time Warner, and Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia). Mark earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a double major in print and broadcast news at The University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em Horns!).
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