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Mobilizing place: Examining mobility, identity, and boundary in the politics of Asian carp

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The movement of Asian carp species through connected river systems is a transboundary challenge for actors seeking to reduce their impacts. In this paper, I use “place” as an analytical lens, focusing on how concepts of mobility, identity, and boundary emerged as critical elements in the public framing of Asian carp problems and solutions. Drawing upon in-depth interviews as well as newspaper, policy, and media documents, I discuss how Asian carp policy discourses have centered on protecting Minnesota’s inland lakes or “Sky blue waters” from invasive Asian carp moving up the Mississippi River. Advocacy groups in Minnesota view Asian carp as threatening the place-based Minnesota “lake culture” and have used that discourse to motivate and mobilize public support. Consequently, management activities have focused on creating boundaries in the Mississippi River to deflect Asian carp movement into Minnesota lakes, which emerge as the places of primary concern and value. Ultimately, exploring the mobility of Asian carp and the ways actors mobilize in response illuminates the critical role of place in understanding the politics of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi River.

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I would like to thank students Lucy Bass and Alexandria Sousa for their research assistance in data collection and Lafayette College EXCEL Scholars program for providing funding to support their participation. Additionally, I am grateful to all interviewees in Minnesota who agreed share their knowledge and experience with us. Finally, gratitude to the editors of this mini-symposium - Brandn Green, Kristal Jones, and Jason Cons - for their organization. Comments by reviewers and editors have strengthed this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rachel Brummel.

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Brummel, R. Mobilizing place: Examining mobility, identity, and boundary in the politics of Asian carp. J Environ Stud Sci 6, 765–769 (2016).

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