TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – A study from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released Monday says not enough is being done to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers outlined its tentative plan in a report that had been scheduled for release in February but was delayed by the Trump administration, drawing criticism from members of Congress and environmental groups.
In June, an 8-pound Asian carp was captured about nine miles from Lake Michigan. It was the second time a live Asain carp has turned up beyond an electric barrier designed to keep the invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.
The Army corps said the plan outlined in the 488-page document is intended to block the path of invasive species “while minimizing impacts to waterway uses and users.” Elected officials and business leaders in Illinois and Indiana have said that significant changes to the Brandon Road complex could hamper cargo shipment on the busy waterway.
The report recommends a $275 million mixture of technologies including loud noises and water jets at a crucial site in Illinois. Upgrades are advised for the Brandon Road Lock and dam near Joliet. The complex is on the Des Palines River a few miles downstream from the electric barriers intended to prevent fish in the Mississippi River watershed from reaching Lake Michigan through Chicago-area waterways.
The report also suggests installing another electric barrier.
The report says the federal government would pay 65 percent of the costs project’s costs, with the rest coming from a “non-federal sponsor.”
The corps will take public comments on the report until Sept. 21. After a feasibility study and series of federal and state reviews, a final report is scheduled for release in August 2019. Congressional approval and funding would be required to get construction underway.
“The Army Corps report makes clear that it’s time for serious preventative actions to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center. “The ecological and economic costs of further delays are not sensible or acceptable.”
Scientists say if they reach the Great Lakes, they could cripple a $7 billion fishing industry by crowding out native species.
Michigan is looking for creative ideas to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The Invasive Carp Challenge is now accepting…