The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a draft report outlining possible strategies to better protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species.
Specifically, the report suggests improvements for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The man-made bottleneck in the Des Plaines River sits roughly 40 miles downstream from Lake Michigan. It’s seen as an important point to prevent invasive species from traveling between the Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes.
“The Army Corps of Engineers is looking at a plan that will essentially make Asian carp and other invasive species run the gauntlet before getting close to the Great Lakes,” said Marc Smith, Conservation Director at the National Wildlife Federation.
The report details six potential plans (including no further federal action) intended to prevent invasive species like Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The Corps' “tentatively selected plan” suggests installing another electric barrier along the Brand Raod Lock and Dam, blasting underwater noise to scare away Asian carp, and using water jets to force invasive species away from ships traversing the channel.
You can submit a public comment, and read the full report here.
In June, a silver carp — a type of Asian carp — was found nine miles from Lake Michigan and upstream of existing electronic barriers.
The Army Corps of Engineers' study was supposed to be made public in February, but it was delayed, reportedly by the White House. Numerous lawmakers from Great Lakes States urged for its publication since.
The Corps will be accepting public comment on the report until Sept. 21. Future dates and locations of public meetings to discuss the report are yet to be announced.
In terms of when a finalized plan would be presented to Congress — it’s going to be awhile.
“This is just in a conceptual state right now,” said Allen Marshall, spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers. “We’re looking to have what is called a ‘chief’s report’, a chief of engineers report late summer of 2019. That’s the next big step.”