States to foot portion of $830 million to keep Asian Carp out of Great Lakes

Jul 3, 2019

If Asian carp make their way from the Illinois River into the Great Lakes, their presence could have devastating ecological consequences.
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Michigan lawmakers visited Illinois on Monday to learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to stop Asian Carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

Eleven members of Michigan’s congressional delegation visited the Brandon Road Lock and Dam.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the $830 million will be used on acoustic and air-bubble deterrents, among other things. The price tag according to Alllen Marshall, a spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers, is for the incremental implementation of the plan. Marshall said the Army Corps is recommending that version of the plan because it will get some of the barriers in the water sooner.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) was part of the delegation that visited the dam. She said she thinks both the Army Corps and lawmakers understand the necessity of the project.

“I do feel that we have good support at this point to be able to move forward on the project,” Stabenow said.

Stabenow said if the carp reach Lake Michigan the results could be devastating.

“Carp grow to about 100-pounds they have no functioning stomach and they just eat all the time,” she said. “They basically are a threat to all of the other fish because they eat all of the other fish food.”

Allen Marshall with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said projects like the proposed Asian Carp barriers require non-federal sponsors, such as states, to cover 35% of the costs.

Stabenow said some state support is already in place.

“I’m very grateful that Governor Whitmer working with the new Governor of Illinois have pledged dollars for the local match,” she said.

It’s not clear how much Michigan has pledged towards the project. Officials with the Governor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.