Army Corps recommends $778 million plan to keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes | Michigan Radio
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Army Corps recommends $778 million plan to keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes

May 24, 2019

Credit USGS

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has saigned off on a $778 million plan intended to keep Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

The money would be used to upgrade a lock and dam in Illinois. But the proposal still needs Congressional approval.

The plan includes a concrete channel and an electric barrier for fish at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the Illinois River near Joliet, Illinois near Chicago.

U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) says he appreciates the Army Corps’ plan and he will continue working with Congress and the White House to secure funding for the project.

More from Rep. Mitchell’s statement:

I greatly appreciate the work done so far by the USACE in studying the Brandon Road project, and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite’s approval of the Corp’s plan to help stop the spread of Asian carp. As all Michiganders know, if invasive species get into the Great Lakes it will have a catastrophic effect on our commerce and way of life. The recent discovery of Asian carp eDNA in Lake Calumet - which is mere miles from Lake Michigan - shows the threat is very real and action must be taken quickly to address the issue. This approved Chief’s Report from the USACE is a major step in this process, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congress, and the Administration to finalize all necessary approvals, secure funding, and expedite construction of the needed preventive measures.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) says the Army Corps’ plan is a huge step in the fight against this invasive species and it gives Congress what it needs to authorize funds for the project.

More from Sen. Stabenow’s statement:

The release of this final comprehensive plan is a critical step forward in our fight against Asian carp. The Army Corps has laid out a full suite of technologies that can be put in place at Brandon Road, both now and in the future, to stop Asian carp from wreaking havoc in the Great Lakes. Most importantly, this report gives Congress what it needs to authorize funding for the project and finally advance a much-needed, long-term solution.

Fellow Democratic U.S. Senator Gary Peters echoes Stabenow's remarks, saying the Great Lakes are more than an econmoic force for Michigan. 

"We must take every step possible to prevent the spread of Asian Carp and invasive species. This report is an important step forward. I’ll be working with my colleagues to authorize the funding needed to act on Asian carp, protect Michigan’s fishing and boating industries and preserve our Great Lakes for future generations," Peters said. 

Environmentalists and some states, including Michigan, have called for walling off Lake Michigan from the Chicago waterway system, which Illinois opposes as disruptive to commercial navigation. The Brandon Road project is considered a compromise.

This post has been updated to include a statement from Gary Peters.