Magazine article Geographical

Against the Flow: As One of America's Biggest Cities, Supplying Clean Drinking Water to Chicago Has Been a Top Priority. but the Grand Infrastructure Visions Are Providing Opportunities for Invasive Asian Carp

Magazine article Geographical

Against the Flow: As One of America's Biggest Cities, Supplying Clean Drinking Water to Chicago Has Been a Top Priority. but the Grand Infrastructure Visions Are Providing Opportunities for Invasive Asian Carp

Article excerpt

Residents of Chicago, Illinois, have the collective efforts of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the Cal-Sag Canal, and the phenomenal effort of reversing the flow of the Chicago river in 1892, to thank for their regular supply of clean water. Since their construction over a century ago, these waterways have connected Lake Michigan and the Mississippi river network and ensured a regular flow of fresh water to keep the city well hydrated.

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However, there have been some less predictable - and less desirable - consequences of this hydrological merging. Asian carp, also known as silver or flying carp, are threatened in their native habitat in the Chinese Heilongjiang, Yangtze, and Pearl River basins, but have become increasingly successful at populating the Mississippi river network since first being introduced into Arkansas catfish farms in the 1970s to control algae Through latching onto the canals as a way of spreading their domain further across the country, there are now substantial fears that this invasive species may be able to access Lake Michigan and the wider Great Lakes - which store an incredible 21 per cent of the entire world's fresh water. …

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