Great Lakes governors and lawmakers call for funding for invasive carp project
LANSING, MI – Midwestern governors and congressional delegates are pushing for funding to speed up the fortification of a lock and dam near Chicago that would become the last line of defense against invading carp reaching the Great Lakes when completed.
On December 10, the governors of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania sent a letter asking Congress to spend about $ 10 million. dollars for the reconstruction of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam as part of the 2022 Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
Democrat Senses Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan sent a similar letter to President Joe Biden last week, urging the project’s engineering and design work to be among federal projects implemented through the recent bill. $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure.
The estimated $ 858 million project has been in the planning phase for years. Advanced design and engineering took a leap forward this year when $ 3.8 million was included in the US Army Corps of Engineers exercise 2021 work plan.
The pre-construction is expected to cost $ 29 million. About 35 percent of this amount has already been provided. Michigan had previously pledged $ 8 million and Illinois $ 10.5 million.
The work is expected to take three to four years.
“However, the balance of the project costs for design, construction, operation and maintenance exceeds the ability of the Great Lakes states to match. Therefore, we call on the United States Federal Government to approach this project in accordance with how other large-scale projects have been funded which also have a strong impact on the regional and national economy, ”wrote the eight governors last week.
The gauntlet-style fortification project is located on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois. He would reconfigure the Brandon Road lock with fortifications to prevent invasive silver and bighead carp from moving upstream, such as an electrical barrier, bubble barrier, acoustic deterrents and flush lock. The improvements aim to reduce the chances that fish can pass through while still allowing the passage of barges.
The conflicting interests of barge operators and the Great Lakes fishing and boating industries have been at the heart of disagreements over how to deal with invasive fish species as they move through the waters of the Great Lakes. ‘Illinois. Most of the population is about 50 miles from Lake Michigan, although genetic material and individual fish have been found much closer.
Conservation groups say the fish could have a major disruptive impact on Great Lakes sport fishing and boating. Silver carp could injure people by jumping out of the water when disturbed, and both species would likely compete with native fish for food and habitat.
The Great Lakes fishing industry is valued at $ 7 billion.
This summer, government agencies and councils coordinating efforts to control invasive fish said they would stop applying the long-standing “Asian carp” label to invasive silver, bighead, grass and black carp. fear that Asian culture will be cast in a negative light. .
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