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June 30, 2010 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-06-30

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Invasive carp
passes barrier

'U' endowment
could post 11.5
;percent growth

Potential influx of
Asian carp threatens
Great Lakes industries
Daily StaffReporter
Though efforts have been made to
keep the Bighead Asian carp at bay and
out of the Great Lakes, the recent dis-
covery of a carp beyond the electrical
barrier system in place at the Chicago
Area Waterway System has left many
wildlife experts uneasy.
The Illinois Department of Natural
Resources and the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service reported the dis-
covery of an Asian carp - an invasive
species that has ravaged the Missis-
sippi and Illinois river systems - about
6 miles downstream of Lake Michigan,
according to a press release issued last
The IDNR has been sampling the
Chicago Area Waterway System since
February in search of both Bighead
and Silver Asian carp. The fish caught
in Lake Calumet on Jun. 22 by a com-
mercial fisherman contracted by the
IDNR measured 34.6 inches long and
weighed 19.6 pounds.
John Rogner, assistant director of
the IDNR, said no additional Asian
carp have been found after further net-
ting and electrofishing in the area. He
said fishermen will continue to survey
Lake Calumet and the Calumet River
leading to Lake Michigan through this
week, but even if no Asian carp are
found, the threat of the invasive spe-
cies' northern migration will remain.
"One fish doesn't necessarily mean
there are more fish, but it certainly
rings the alarm bell," he said. "We will
never become confident that there are
none in the system. We don't see an
endpoint actually. I think (the search)
will continue for a good long while."
In the event that fishermen find
more of the foreign species, Rogner
said the IDNR may pursue intense fish-
ing and adding Rotenone - a chemical
toxin - in the water. He said that if
implemented properly, Rotenone can
effectively kill the Asian carp, while
sparing other fish that are more toler-
ant of the toxin.
Charlie Wooley, the deputy regional
director for the USFWS in Minneapo-
lis, Minn., said it's too soon to specu-
late what the IDNR and the USFWS
will do if more Asian carp show up.

"If there are additional fish found
... we would reconvene the technical
experts, and we would design another
... kind of control action in that area.
What that would be, it would be too
early to conjecture that right now," he
Wooley did warn, however, that if
there are more Asian carp above the
U.S. Army Corp of Engineer's Electri-
cal Barrier System and they become
established in the Great Lakes, there
would be disastrous ecological conse-
"They have left a trail of devasta-
tion behind them as they've moved
through the river system. We just do
not want to see that happen in South-
ern Lake Michigan," he said.
The only other Asian carp found
in the CAWS was caught on Dec. 3 of
last year in the Chicago Sanitary and
Ship Canal. Unlike the first fish, the
specimen caught last week was found
above the electric barrier, which was
designed specifically to keep inva-
sive aquatic species from entering the
Great Lakes Basins from the Missis-
sippi River.
According to Rogner, the electric
barrier has three parts but only two
of them are currently fully functional.
Construction on the third will be com-
pleted in the fall, at which point, he
said, the barrier will be a "very effec-
tive system."
Although this is the first fish caught
above the barrier, a research team led
by David Lodge, a professor of biologi-
cal sciences at the University of Notre
Dame, found environmental DNA of
Silver Asian carp in the Calumet River
and Calumet Harbor last year, which
at the time indicated the presence of
the invasive species.
Last week's catch validated Lodge's
findings and has caused great alarm
among state officials.
A report from the Asian Carp
Regional Coordinating Committee,
a group dedicated to the control and
management of Asian carp in the U.S.,
said fish farmers in the south imported
the species in the 1970s to keep aqua-
culture facilities clean and provide
fresh fish for markets.
The destructive path up the Mis-
sissippi River of the invasive spe-
cies began in the 1980s when the fish
escaped into the wild, and they have
since dominated the Mississippi and
Illinois river systems and continue to
move northward.
See CARP, Page 3

CFO Slottow
cautions projection
may change
Daily News Editor
Despite a significant drop in its
overall investment portfolio last
year, top University officials are say-
ing publicly that they expect to see
above-average returns this year.
The University's endowment fell
more than 20 percent last year, leav-
ing its market value down $1.6 billion.
However, a
tion to the
Board of
Regents earli-
er this month
projected that
the endow- KYLE SWANSON
ment would o
grow by 11.5
percent by
the end of the
year. If reached, the growth would
put the University's endowment to
$6.7 billion - an increase of nearly
$700 million.
Such projections are not typically
released by University officials, who
carefully guard detailed information
about the true market value of the
endowment until investment returns
are formally released at the October
Board of Regents meeting.
However, the estimates given by
Tim Slottow, the University's execu-
tive vice president and chief financial
officer, appeared in a communica-
tion sent to the University's Board of
Regents earlier this month.
The communication was a propos-
al Slottow had submitted to lower the
University's endowment annual pay-
out rate from 5 percent to 4.5 percent.
However, the proposal was tabled
during June's lengthy meeting which
focused on the University's budget.
Despite the technical withdrawal
of the proposal, Slottow verified in an
interview with The Michigan Daily
that the projection of an 11.5-percent
return on the endowment was still
accurate for this year. However, Slot-
tow cautioned that the estimate will
likely not be exact and could end up

being different depending on market
If the projected performance does
hold true, it would outpace the aver-
age return realized on the Univer-
sity's endowment, which has seen
average growth of nine percent
each year over the last decade. Such
growth outpaces the S&P 500, which
lost an average of 2.2 percent per
year over the same time period, and
the average university endowment,
which earned 4.2 percent per year
over the last 10 years.
And while the University's endow-
ment has consistently outperformed
many other universities across the
country, Slottow's proposal to the
regents to lower the endowment pay-
out rule could help the University to
increase its annual returns further.
In his proposal to the regents,
which may be brought before the
regents in July since it was not dis-
cussed at the June meeting, Slottow
outlined that the change could help
to further insulate the University's
endowment from market volatility
by providing a more consistent, posi-
tive return on the University's invest-
ments. The result would minimize
chances that the University would
see major positive or negative swings
in the market value of its endowment.
If the proposal is approved by the
Board of Regents in the upcoming
months, the change would be the
fourth time the regents have changed
the endowment spending rule since
implementing their first non-absolute
return endowment spending policy in
University leaders have also said
that any change to the endowment
spending rule would be implemented
slowly to ensure funds are more con-
sistently distributed to units within
the University than in prior years.
Online at MichiganDaily.com

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