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Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

US Army Corps of Engineers Releases Asian Carp Great Lakes Options

US Army Corps of Engineers Releases Asian Carp Great Lakes Options

"I am pleased the Army Corps has finally released their plan and following stakeholder input, we must act swiftly to implement it". Undertaken in 2015, the study examined the feasibility of using a single upstream control point near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois, for water entering the Great Lakes basin from the Mississippi River basin.

The Corps of Engineers' first step would be to "upgrade the Brandon Road Lock and Dam", in IL, according to a report from NPR. Construction would take four years from authorization.

In January, Durbin and eleven other bipartisan senators from the Great Lakes region wrote to Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy asking the Army Corps to complete the Brandon Road Study, which will offer recommendations to keep invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

The American Waterways Operators, a trade association that submitted comments to the Army Corps in 2015 for a previous study, has said a new electronic barrier would be "unacceptable", raising safety concerns. Barge owners, whose vessels pass through the lock, and the state of IL, have said they don't want boats to face additional delays. When the electric barrier can't be used during these times, the complex noise technology would be used to deter the fish.

The plan proposes a new "flushing lock" that would hit the fish with complex noises, as well as a re-engineered shipping channel with water jets and a new electric barrier.

The release of the draft report is followed by a 45-day public comment period which will end September 21.

The tentative plan in a long-awaited study released Monday outlines five other options - ranging from no action, and therefore no cost, to a $5.9 million lock closure with a $318.7 million hit to navigation. In June, a live silver carp was found in a Chicago waterway just nine miles from Lake Michigan. The Corps is in the process of planning public meetings in order to open a dialogue and obtain feedback. "We know that the harvesting efforts that are being done - while necessary - aren't enough to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes".

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