The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its final recommendation report for improvements to be made at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Ill., to prevent the movement of invasive Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

Trout Unlimited supports the final draft recommendation, which includes a few significant changes from the original Tentatively Selected Plan report, which was released in August of 2017.

The changes include water jets being replaced with bubble curtain technology. Mooring cells have been removed, and the cost has increased from $275 million to $777.8 million.

The USACE maintained structural and nonstructural measures including an engineered lock fitted with an electric barrier an acoustic barrier, and an engineered channel to stop aquatic invasive species, while maintaining navigation for shipping. Click here for a summary of the updated plan.

TU supports the USACE recommendation as it provides for an increased array of protective measures for the Great Lakes and its coldwater fisheries. This is a step in the right direction and will allow legislators and stakeholders more time to address complete basin separation, which will ultimately be necessary to ensure that the Great Lakes are protected.

TU believes this is a justifiable expense for protecting one of the world’s largest freshwater systems, which generates $16 billion though tourism and $7 billion via angling annually.

“With the release of the draft final recommendation, we are one step closer to ensuring the Great Lakes are protected,” said Keith Curley, TU’s vice president of Eastern Conservation. “Asian carp have proven to be overwhelmingly destructive in fisheries throughout the Mississippi River Basin and we hope to ensure that that doesn’t happen to one of our nation’s most productive coldwater fisheries.

“We hope the USACE will move the plan along as to the construction phase as quickly as possible and look to Congress for their support in throughout their authorization and appropriations processes.”

A public comment period on the Draft Final Recommendation opened on Nov. 23 and will close on Dec. 24. Click HERE to make your voice heard on this critical issue.

By Mark Taylor. 

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