The Trump Administration included $25 million to combat Asian carp in Southern states in the 2020 fiscal year spending plan.
Officials said the money will be used to eradicate Asian carp in areas where the invasive species is present, rather than preventing its spread.
“The $25 million will go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to combat carp in the Southern states because for the past several years, the money — over $300 million a year — has gone to the Great Lakes to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes, and the rest of us have been suffering with them,” Wade White, Lyon County (Kentucky) judge-executive, said in a statement. “This is really the first bit of money the feds have ever considered sending us.”
White credited U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for securing the funding, which was included in the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The House passed the bill Dec. 17 by a vote of 297-120. The Senate approved the bill Dec. 19, voting 71-23.
“With increased federal resources, we’re fortifying our treasured west Kentucky waters against invasive Asian carp,” McConnell said in the statement. “Along with local leaders, especially Judge Wade White, I’m using my leadership role to raise the alarm to the highest levels of the federal government.”
Funding could also allow for the construction of more bio-acoustic fish fences. U.S. Fish and Wildlife resources recently deployed the first of these barriers at Barkley Lock on the Cumberland River. Asian carp primarily reproduce in the river, so the goal is to decrease their population in lakes by preventing them from re-entering through the locks.
“The whole goal of it is for us to focus on getting these fish out of the water,” White said.