Costly New Plan to Contain Asian Carp Unveiled

(CN) – The cost to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes has nearly tripled to $778 million since last year, according to the final plan from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This June 22, 2017, file photo provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources shows a silver carp, a variety of Asian carp, that was caught in the Illinois Waterway below T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam, approximately nine miles away from Lake Michigan. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a final $778 million plan to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses at a lock-and-dam complex in Illinois. (Illinois Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)

The initial cost from a 2017 draft plan was $275 million but the new Army Corps report released last week says the price went up due to the need for additional engineering and design, along with extra expenses for environmental mitigation.

The plan is aimed at preventing invasive species like Asian carp from traveling from the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes through the Chicago Area Waterway System.

If Asian carp were to infiltrate the Great Lakes, advocates say it could have a damaging impact on marine life and the fishing industry.

Recommended upgrades to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam along the Des Plaines River in Illinois include installation of an electric fence, sound barriers and air bubble curtains.

A concrete channel in the lock has also been suggested as a way to boost efficiency of other fish controls and make testing new technology possible.

The last time an Asian carp was discovered in a Chicago waterway was last year, just nine miles away from Lake Michigan in the Little Calumet River.

After a review period, the Army Corps plans to send the report to Congress in February.

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