Army Corps approves plan to block Asian carp from Great Lakes

An adult Asian carp in a captive environment.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved its final plan recommendation for addressing Asian carp at Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Ill.  

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the Corps of Engineers, signed the report, which will now be sent to Congress for approval and funding. 

Asian carp are currently one of the most serious threats the health of the Great Lakes. Were the non-native fish to make it into the Great Lakes system, they could significantly disrupt the ecosystem, and potentially devastate a multi-billion dollar recreational and commercial fishing economy.  

The Corps plan seeks to prevent them from making it farther up the Chicago Waterway by installing technology at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. Proposed actions include: complex noise, a bubble curtain, an engineered channel, an electric barrier and a flushing lock.  

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

“Over the past two decades, the challenges presented by invasive Asian carp have been a consistent backdrop to virtually all other natural resources decisions in the Great Lakes region,” said Keith Curley, Trout Unlimited’s vice president of eastern conservation. “The news of the plan going to Congress comes in timely fashion as just earlier this week it was reported that Asian carp eDNA has been found past the last electric barrier, only 6 miles from Lake Michigan.   

“We now look to Congress to work expeditiously in order to start construction as soon as possible.”       

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.