Asian carp funding awaiting approval

by Jeff Helsdon | October 7, 2020
Leaping carp

Funding for the latest American measures meant to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is one hurdle away from approval.

In an effort to keep Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan, the US Army Corps of Engineers recommended several preventative measures to be put in place at the Brandon Road Lock in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. 

Preventative measures eyed

They include: an acoustic fish deterrent which uses underwater sound to keep fish from going through, an electrical dispersal barrier, a flushing lock designed to move water from the upper lock prior to passage, and an air bubble curtain.

These measures are designed to address swimming, floating, and small carp that are hiding under recesses of barges. There will be launches built up and below the locks to stop any possible passage associated with these craft, as well as pesticide use when necessary and public education.

“It’s a pretty thorough plan,” said Marc Gaden, communications director and legislative liaison with the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission.

Water legislation updated

The measures were part of the latest update to the Water Resources Development Act. At press deadline in late August, the Act was passed by the House of Representatives but still needed Senate approval.

Gaden said these measures are widely supported by both parties, however. The bill also includes increased cost sharing from the federal government for the $830-million price tag. It also incorporates measures to deal with high water levels and algae blooms.

Great Lakes-Mississippi separation sought

If approved, the work it is expected to take years to complete. Gaden also emphasized the ultimate goal is restoring physical separation between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.

“The fisheries commission has long supported physical separation,” he said. “Brandon Road is an important project we can do now. It adds some strong defences. It’s not the be-all, end-all, but the ultimate goal needs to be the physical separation that Mother Nature provided.”

He added that goal would probably take decades.

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