Asian carp, the daunting invasive fish, weighing 80 to 100 pounds, that jump when frightened and can injure recreational boaters are within four miles of the Brandon Road Lock located 41 miles southwest of Lake Michigan.
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) has developed an $800 million plan to modify the Brandon Road Lock as the best solution to prevent the eastward advancement of silver and bighead carp, the two largest species of Asian carp.
The USACE is calling for final public comments on the plan by December 24, 2018 in preparation for submitting it to Congress for approval and appropriations by February 2019. Congress will be voting on federal funding of 65% of the total project cost, and the Great Lakes States (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) will have to provide the remaining 35% of the project cost.
The Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study – Brandon Road Final Integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Study – Will County, Illinois (GLMRIS-Brandon Road Study) calls for modifying the existing Joliet, Illinois lock to include the following structural measures (underwater sound deterrent, air bubble curtain, engineered channel, electric barrier, flushing lock, and downstream and upstream boat launches) and nonstructural measures (education, pest management, monitoring, piscicides, and continued research.)
Save The River, the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, has been involved with the Great Lakes Partnership to Block Asian Carp for several years. This coalition includes recreation, environmental, conservation, business and civic organizations, elected officials and policy makers, and concerned citizens from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River regions.
The partnership supports the GLMRIS-Brandon Road Study as the most effective proposal to prevent the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes through the Chicago waterway. There are additional vectors that provide invasive carp a less direct pathway to reach the Great Lakes that still need to be identified and addressed.
If these two species of Asian carp become established in the St. Lawrence River, they will drastically alter food webs, impact our ecosystems and fisheries, and harm our recreation and tourism industries. Save The River, along with other members of the Block Asian Carp coalition will be submitting comments on the final plan. As the plan reaches Congress early next year, Save The River will organize an action alert to legislators.
To submit comments electronically, send them to GLMRIS-BR@usace.army.mil.
Written comments can be sent to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District
ATTN: GLMRIS-Brandon Road EIS
Clock Tower Building
P.O. Box 2004
Rock Island, IL
For 40 years Save The River has been the leading grassroots environmental advocacy organization fighting for the ecological integrity of the St. Lawrence River.
Save The River takes an active role in River policy issues by engaging decision makers, community leaders, residents, visitors and volunteers to make positive change. Every year Save The River works with educators in school districts in the watershed to educate 1,000+ students in a place-based curriculum that stresses age appropriate aspects of stewardship.