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Guest Blog

The Emiquon Choo Choo

Thu, June 12, 2014

By MIKE CONLIN

The Nature Conservancy and the Army Corps of Engineers have lined up their political forces in an attempt to “railroad” through their plans to reconnect the Emiquon Preserve to the Illinois River. 

Despite the fact that many millions of dollars of taxpayer money are slated to pay for the majority of the project, and many well known and respected biologists have raised serious concerns with the reconnection proposal, The Nature Conservancy and the Corps of Engineers plan to continue their journey, without holding any public meetings, toward what undoubtedly will someday become a nasty “ecological train wreck.”
 
Oh, they have put together an “Emiquon Management Team,” composed almost entirely of folks who aready support the project as proposed.  But this is nothing but a public relations ploy to convince the public that the many questions recently voiced on the project are without scientific substance and are merely “misunderstandings” of project purposes and goals.

Just how did The Nature Conservancy and the Corps of Engineers corner the market on all ecological knowledge relative to the pros and cons of the Emiquon Project proposal? I have no idea, but their actions clearly indicate that they think they have done so. 

The maddening part of this whole fiasco is that the Conservancy is happily utilizing taxpayer dollars to fuel their “runaway train” … .aka The Emiquon Choo Choo. 

What are the “common sense facts” relative to the Emiquon proposal?  Try some of these on for size:

• Currently there are common carp in Emiquon but they are being held in check by a very strong native fish population.

• Providing fish in the Illinois River access to Emiquon will most certainly result in a buildup of the common carp population … .and eventually a carp explosion … which will result in degradation and destruction of the present lush wetland and aquatic plant community. When this base of the ecological pyramid collapses, all that depend on it will collapse as well – eg. the marvelous populations of native fish species, waterfowl and other water birds.

• Not to worry says the Conservancy, if common carp and Asian Carp become a problem because of the reconnection with the Illinois River; we will just drain the lake and get rid of them! Of course,  that means all fish life will perish and building a lake fishery will have to start all over again. 

Again, the Conservancy to the rescue. They say they will merely let in water (and fish) from the Illinois River and flood Emiquon to a depth of 10 feet, thereby not only re-establishing a fish population (of which carp will be the dominant species unfortunately) but will control any unwanted woody vegetation starting to establish itself. 

If you are thinking that this is all starting to sound like a total “cluster”, you are quite correct. Purposely contaminating the lake with carp, then having to drain the lake because of the carp, then refilling with water from the Illinois River only to recontaminate with carp again, all for the purpose of a Conservancy grand “restoration experiment,” bankrolled with taxpayer monies, is just plain nonsense. It really borders on being criminal to jeopardize and disrupt one of the few significant wetlands existing in the Illinois Valley. 

The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Choo Choo needs to be derailed, least the taxpayers not only get fleeced out of millions of dollars of their tax monies, but they also lose a preciously wonderful, currently existing wetland heaven for fish, fowl, and man. 

CONTACT SENATOR RICHARD J. DURBIN (e-mail: durbin.senate.gov) and SENATOR MARK KIRK (e-mail: kirk.senate.gov) TODAY and ask that they put the brakes on the Nature Conservancy and the Corps of Engineers’ plan to reconnect the Illinois River to Emiquon. Also request of the Senators that a series of public meeting be held so that the taxpayers have a true opportunity to express their views on this proposal.

 

Comments

I have one simple question, how can this private entity get a hold of taxpayer money for this dumba$$ project?

Posted by esox_lucius on June 12

They want to turn this place into nothing but a carp pond. Have they not learned anything from what we already are facing upon the rivers with the carp problem, and now we are only going to create another location for them ? Mike calls will be made, this is ridiculous….........RTT

Posted by Ringtailtrapper on June 14

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