Asian carp trade jepordizes the Great Lakes

carp.jpgAsian carp is a delicacy, a commodity and an invasive species that could radically alter the ecosystem of the Great Lakes. It’s illegal to transfer live carp across Canada but markets in New York and Toronto place a premium on living fish for their fresh taste. Canadian authorities have increased efforts to crackdown on the smuggling of the fish and The Detroit News examines what’s been accomplished.

The recent stops at the Canadian border show some people are willing to sidestep the laws in order to get a higher return for their fish by delivering them live. It’s a situation that has government and environmental groups on guard.

“We consider the transportation of Asian carp over the border to be a big deal — a very big deal,” said Marc Gaden, communications director and legislative liaison for the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission. “It’s one of the two main ways — the other being the shipping canals near Chicago — that fish can get into the basin.”

How could a carp release in Lake Ontario spread? Here’s a scenario:

[A] truck carrying live Asian carp slips through customs at the U.S./Canadian border and gets involved in an accident, spilling its cargo. The Asian carp find their way into a local stream or river — waterways that eventually connect to Lake Ontario. Reproduction ensues and within a few years, Ontario and the other lakes are overrun by Asian carp.

Also clicking on MN Today

GOP bill slashes Minnesota education funding

Republican-led legislation that would overhaul the way Minnesota pays for K-12 education, change how teachers are paid and cut their collective bargaining rights faces a certain veto by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton (Duluth News Tribune).

Return of the Loons

Earlier this week we featured the DNR’s Loon Tracker. Last night KARE11 picked up the story and spoke with DNR officials about the impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf could have on Minnesota’s Loon population.

Norwegians prepare Duluth for royal treatment

Norwegian consulate and embassy officials from New York and Washington got their first look at Duluth on Thursday as they prepare for the visit of King Harald and Queen Sonja in October (Duluth News Tribune).

Blog Box

Opening Day

After a brutally long winter and off season, Opening Day has finally arrived. Tonight at 6 PM, the Twins will officially kick off their 2011 season in Toronto, and for the next six months we will never have to suffer through two consecutive days without a ballgame. For fans of baseball and summer, it’s a sweet feeling (Nicks Twins Blog).

The Common Cents Online Forum – 4/1 – K-12 spending & reforming

Reform of K-12 education continues to get attention at the State Capitol. As MPR’s Tim Pugmire reported, the Senate passed a bill that would freeze school employee salaries, prevent teachers from striking and gives a modest per-pupil increase in spending. The measure cuts spending in other places.

And with K-12 representing a large chunk of the state budget – and with the state facing a $5 billion shortfall – funding decisions loom large in the debate.

For a week MPR has held an ongoing conversation on K-12 education based on face-to-face forums held by the Citizens League – part of their Common Cents initiative. What we discussed: How do you reform a public school system as you look to trim what is spent on it?. (Click here for some background)

Today at 12:30 p.m. – we hold a roundtable on the topic. But we do it via your computer screen. The window below will be that gateway to our discussion. Please join us for the conversation.

This roundtable will include some people who study the K-12 system and some who will advise state government on education spending:

Two members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s Working Group on School Funding will be here. Dane Smith, president of Growth and Justice, an organization that has laid out an investment agenda for education. Greg Vandal, retired superintendent of the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District who now has a consulting service that is looking at how to evaluate principals.

Another roundtable panelist is Tim McDonald, a fellow at the Center for Policy Studies and an associate with Education|Evolving. He’s authored a book, Unsustainable, that argues for fundamental systemic reform

We want you here to … to answer the questions:What does it mean to reform education? How does that happen during a time of budget austerity? Should reform happen before financial decisions are made? These are the subjects we’ll tackle on April 1. Join us at 12:30 p.m. – online.

Background Presentation – What the Common Cents Conversation pointed toward