LANSING, Mich. – The State of Michigan announced today that the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge, which sought innovative solutions to stop the movement of invasive carp, received 353 entries from 27 countries. The challenge, hosted by global crowd-sourcing company InnoCentive, netted new ideas and raised the global profile of this important issue.
“Invasive carp pose a serious and growing threat to the economy and ecology of our Great Lakes,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “The Invasive Carp Challenge has unleashed the creativity and power of the entrepreneurial community to find the best ways to protect one of Michigan’s most prized natural resources. I’m looking forward to the results of this challenge and how to put some of these ideas into action.”
Solutions will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges, with up to eight solutions selected for awards of $25,000. Stage 1 awardees will be announced in February 2018.
For final awards, a select number of Stage 1 awardees will be invited to present their ideas before a live audience of judges, industry experts, nonprofit organizations and venture capital representatives for additional cash awards totaling up to $500,000.
This live event is planned to take place in late March 2018 in Detroit and will provide an in-person platform for ideas to be pitched to judges for final awards. All awardees will have an opportunity to make connections with audience members as well, including university researchers, entrepreneurs and venture capital firms, in hopes of furthering their ideas.
Gov. Snyder announced the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge during his State of the State address in January 2017. The State of Michigan pledged $1 million to seek innovative methods to prevent the movement of invasive carp species into Lake Michigan from the Illinois River through the Chicago Area Waterway System.
Invasive carp pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem, the $7 billion fishery, and other economic interests dependent on the Great Lakes and its tributaries.
In June 2017, a 28-inch-long silver carp was caught approximately 9 miles from Lake Michigan, beyond the electric barrier system meant to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. An autopsy and analysis by Southern Illinois University indicated the fish spent from a few weeks to a few months in the section of river where it was caught. There was no indication of how the fish ended up beyond the electric barriers.
This discovery of a second invasive carp found beyond the barrier – a bighead carp was captured in 2010 – underscores the need for action and innovation to prevent these fish from doing potentially irreparable ecological and economic damage to Michigan’s signature and defining natural resource.