On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder announced an interstate partnership with leaders of the Great Lakes states to reduce the risk of invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses in a Chicago-area waterway. Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Ontario are the founding members of the partnership, representing more than 90% of the Great Lakes surface area.
The initiative contributes to reducing costs of upgrading the Brand Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, a key choke point between the carp-infested Illinois River and Lake Michigan.
“Michigan is stepping up to take a leadership role due to the urgency of this situation and the efforts necessary to prevent the entry of Asian carp into the Great Lakes,” Snyder said in a statement.
Experts say the entrance of invasive carp would irreparably damage the Great Lakes ecosystem, the $7 billion fishery and other economic interests dependent on the Great Lakes. An estimated $8 million is needed annually to provide the nonfederal share of funding to operate and maintain the improved system.
The Army Corps says it could begin construction on a $275 million federally funded invasive carp barrier improvement project in 2022 at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam with the system becoming operational by 2025. The plan incorporates a suite of technologies, including a complex noise system to keep fish out of the channel, and state-of-the-art electric barriers at the lock’s entrances.