U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Solicits Public Comment on Aquatic Nuisance Species Study in New Orleans and Media Event

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On Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is holding a public scoping meeting along with the Office of the Asian Carp Director, White House Council on Environmental Quality, in New Orleans from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Port of New Orleans Administration Building, Auditorium, located at 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, to gather input on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). The public is invited to attend this scoping meeting and to provide comments on GLMRIS. Identical presentations about the study will be given at 2:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., each followed by the comment period. The purpose of GLMRIS is to evaluate a range of options and technologies to prevent the transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through aquatic pathways. Quagga and Zebra mussels are examples of ANS that have already transferred from the Great Lakes Basin to the Mississippi River Basin.

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On Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is holding a public scoping meeting along with the Office of the Asian Carp Director, White House Council on Environmental Quality, in New Orleans from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Port of New Orleans Administration Building, Auditorium, located at 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, to gather input on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). The public is invited to attend this scoping meeting and to provide comments on GLMRIS. Identical presentations about the study will be given at 2:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., each followed by the comment period. The purpose of GLMRIS is to evaluate a range of options and technologies to prevent the transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through aquatic pathways.

Using input obtained during the scoping period, USACE will refine the scope of GLMRIS to focus on significant issues, as well as eliminate issues that are not significant from further detailed study. Issues associated with GLMRIS are likely to include, but will not be limited to: significant natural resources, such as ecosystems and threatened and endangered species; commercial and recreational fisheries; recreational uses of the lakes and waterways; effects of potential ANS controls on waterways uses such as: flood risk management, commercial and recreational navigation; and statutory and legal responsibilities relative to the effected waterways.

In addition to New Orleans, USACE will hold its last public scoping meeting in Ann Arbor, Mich. Specific meeting venues and dates are announced in Federal Register notices, the GLMRIS Web site and other media.

The public scoping comment period will end on March 31, 2011. If you plan to make an oral comment, please register on the GLMRIS Web site. Comments can also be submitted electronically through the Web site. Each scoping meeting will consist of two separate three-hour sessions to allow as many attendees as possible.

An ANS is a nonindigenous species that threatens the diversity or abundance of native species; the ecological stability of infested waters; or the commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or recreational activities dependent on such water. As a result of international commerce, travel and local practices, ANS have been introduced and spread throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. Connected primarily by man-made channels, ANS transfer was impeded historically by the poor water quality of those waterways. Recent water quality improvements have lessened that impediment making it more likely for ANS transfer between the two basins to occur. Quagga and Zebra mussels are examples of ANS that have already transferred from the Great Lakes Basin to the Mississippi River Basin.

For more information regarding GLMRIS, the meeting agenda and scoping requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, visit the GLMRIS Web site at http://www.glmris.anl.gov or call Dave Wethington, GLMRIS project manager, at 312-846-5522 or e-mail at David.M.Wethington(at)usace(dot)army(dot)mil. Facebook.com/glmris and Twitter @GLMRIS.

Army Corps of Engineers and Office of the Asian Carp Director Media Availability

Who
Asian Carp Director John Goss, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division; and Lt. Col. David Berczek, deputy district commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District

What
Media availability before the public scoping meeting. Due to the structure of the formal public meeting, there will be limited opportunity for media to engage the key agency representatives until the meeting concludes.Media is encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity for one-on-one interviews with the key agency representatives prior to official start of the 2:00 p.m. meeting.

When
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Where
The Port of New Orleans Administration Building, Auditorium, located at 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans

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Sarah Gross
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
312-659-4354
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