Holy Carp

October 8, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Reid Rosen

Friday Post


An article from NPR today addresses the issue of the Asian Carp heading through man made canals in the Chicago River into the Lake Michigan. What have experts concluded as the solution to the current threat of the Asian carp; reversing the flow of the Chicago River. What seems like an impossible task actually occurred in the 1880’s when the public of Chicago was getting their water from Lake Michigan. But, during that same time Lake Michigan was receiving sewage run off, industrial run off and even run off from the Union Stockyards in Chicago. The result was outbreaks of Typhoid and other disease. According to the NPR article engineers reversed the flow by building a 28 mile long canal connecting the Chicago River and the Des Plaines River. This caused the current to flow south down towards St. Louis. It was a remarkable engineering accomplishment. This however has led to the concern of the Asian carp swimming upstream into the lake. Now officials are saying it is time to re-reverse the stream back to its original path. This prevents the deadly carp from entering the great lakes and threating the local fish population.

I found the most interesting part of the article to be the reversal of the Chicago River’s flow in 1880. For the time period this sounds like an amazing accomplishment and the amount of man power needed must have been a tremendous operation. As a journalist I found the article very relevant because of Impact and Prominence. Everyone knows about Chicago and knowing that possibly the river could be redirected is an alarming fact. I personally find the story interesting because I didn’t even know it was possible to change the current of a river which I think makes it somewhat of a large impact.

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One Response to “Holy Carp”
  1. fuglsang says:

    Good discussion, Reid, though the main reason for the story is the carp. I saw a story recently that claimed the dangers represented by the carp reaching Lake Michigan is being exaggerated. You know there will be long discussion of this reversing idea and how what ILlinois does may or may not impact Michigan.