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Environment & Climate Change

Michigan, Illinois sign agreement to build Asian Carp barrier

Asian carp leaping out of a river.
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Asian carp leaping out of a river.

Another barrier to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes is about to enter the planning and design stage.

There are already electric barriers to stop Asian Carp. This new one will be more complex and the first line of defense.

This barrier is a joint project between Illinois, Michigan, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Michigan is contributing $8 million for planning the barrier. Combined with $2.5 million from Illinois, that covers 35% of the projected costs, with the federal government covering the rest for the planning phase. The total cost of the project is expect to approach $800 million.

It will take three to four years to design the barrier to be built at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois. That river is part of a system of natural and manmade waterways linking the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes.

brld_electric_barrier-complex_noise_tech_alternative_october2018_0.jpg
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Plan for Brandon Road Lock and Dam barrier.

It will use electric shocks, underwater sound, and air bubble curtains as well as other devices to allow river barge traffic to pass, but deter Asian Carp which have invaded the river system. See more about the plans here.

An electric barrier at Romeoville, just a few miles closer to Lake Michigan, was first built to stop the invasive round goby fish in the Great Lakes from getting into the Mississippi River system. That didn’t work. Since then, two more electric barriers at the same site have been built. A fourth one will be built there this year.

Biologists are concerned if the Asian Carp is not blocked, they would devastate fishing in the Great Lakes.

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