U.S. House OKs bill to protect N. Minnesota waters from Asian carp


A bill has been approved by the U.S. House aimed at protecting northern Minnesota waters against invasive Asian carp, the Star Tribune reports.

The House bill, which passed 417-3 Wednesday, would close the St. Anthony Lock and Dam.

Before the vote, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota's 8th District said the measure was "the last, best chance to protect all the lakes and the waterways going north of there," Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Among the three "no" votes was Minnesota 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson. MPR said Peterson voted against the bill because House Republicans didn't include funding for a flood mitigation project in Roseau.

The legislation -- which was a provision in an $8 billion water resources bill to fund U.S. ports and water projects -- had the support of environmentalists, sportsmen and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Opponents of the bill say it is overreaching, noting the threat of Asian carp is low because the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and other northern Minnesota waters are not connected to the Upper Mississippi River watershed.

Legislators will next work on merging the bill with the U.S. Senate version. That measure, passed in May, had the support of both U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

The Minnesota DNR has been actively looking into ways to keep Asian carp at bay. The agency signed a deal in June for the design of an electronic barrier for the Ford Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River.

Last week, construction crews began installing massive steel gates at the Coon Rapids Dam in efforts to prevent the spread of the invasive species.

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Asian carp may infiltrate Minnesota from northwestern Iowa

State officials on the lookout for Asian carp have been monitoring the Mississippi River. But there are new fears that the invasive species may use another gateway to Minnesota. Anglers in northwestern Iowa have caught dozens of the carp in waters that connect through streams and lakes to southern Minnesota.

Bill in Washington would close St. Anthony Falls lock if Asian carp are found

The Army Corps of Engineers wants authority to close the lock and dam at Minneapolis' St. Anthony Falls at a moment's notice if invasive carp are found nearby. Supporters of the idea include the Minnesota DNR and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who say stopping the migration of Asian carp up the Mississippi is needed to protect northern Minnesota waters.