Pollution May Be The Asian Carp Solution
Severe weather in the Midwest is taking a toll on Lake Michigan waterways as urban chloride pollution from 50 years of heavy winter road salt application has turned sections of area rivers turgid with nearly a half million tons of salt discharged into storm sewers each year. Since 1960 when the use of road salt began, the salinity levels in the Chicago Area Waterway System have steadily increased to the point now that sections are now classified as salt water. While Lake Michigan is relatively unaffected, thanks primarily to the reversed flow of the Chicago River, its immediate inland rivers no longer resemble fresh water.
Surprisingly, this salt pollution has resulted in an intriguing opportunity in the war against Asian Carp. During the fall of 2016, an independent scientific coalition calling themselves SADSACS, Scientists and Democrats Seeking Asian Carp Solutions (Republicans commented that they have their hands full with an invasive species of their own) tested with favorable results the release of several predatory salt water species in a section of the Cal-Sag Channel. A 6 ft hammerhead shark reportedly survived for 18 hours in the channel until it was caught and eviscerated by a local catfish angler confusing the giant fish with a mutant channel cat common to the area. Despite the loss, SADSACS confirmed that the shark remained confined to salt laden waters of the channel.
Hammerhead sharks were selected based their affinity for not only Asian carp but for anything remotely edible including small appliances, discarded auto parts, and empty cheese whiz cans littering the rivers. The sharks are expected to live quite comfortably until carp eventually arrive in the kill zone. Watersport restrictions are being considered but debates are ongoing as to whether the waterways in question could become any more hazardous.
Confirmation that the salinity of Chicago and NW Indiana water has attained levels high enough to host ocean predators is seen as the likely solution to the Asian Carp conundrum. In a related note, scientists in San Diego, CA recently provided disturbing evidence that hammerhead sharks are becoming increasingly tolerant to freshwater ecosystems. When asked about a future involving the great lakes teeming with sharks, SADSACS representatives commented “Let’s just solve one problem at a time”
* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only. No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.