Conservation | Featured

Plan to keep Asian carp from Great Lakes gets big boost

Nathan Rister, fisheries technician; Andrew Porterfield, fisheries technician; Josh Tompkins, fisheries biologist; and Matt Combs, fisheries biologist; Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, move Asian Carp from the electrofishing boat into the chase boat below Barkley Dam on the Cumberland River in Grand Rivers, Ky., July 30, 2019.
USACE photo by Lee Roberts

By Taylor Ridderbusch

Today, both state governments and federal agencies announced two major milestones in the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

First, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state of Illinois have reached a design agreement on the project, officially designating Illinois as the non-federal sponsor. This agreement will allow the Corps to move forward with their pre-construction engineering and design, a critical three-year process that must be completed prior to the launch of the construction phase of the project.

Second, the states of Michigan and Illinois announced that they have signed an intergovernmental agreement that had been in the works for over a year. This agreement allows for the transfer of funds from Michigan to Illinois to help pay for a portion of the pre-construction engineering and design. In late 2020, the Michigan Legislature passed a measure approving $8 million for the Brandon Road project; this agreement clears the way for those funds to be used by Illinois for a portion of their local cost share. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to prevent invasive Asian carp from making it farther up the Chicago Waterway by installing technologies at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam site near Joliet, Ill. The methods to be used include: complex noise, a bubble curtain, an engineered channel, an electric barrier and a potential flushing lock.  

Additionally, the plan calls for continued nonstructural activities like overfishing.