If the Asian carp reaches the Great Lakes, the invasive species could devastate the region’s $7 billion fishing industry. The species has already infested the Mississippi River system, and just last month, a fisherman caught an Asian carp in a Chicago waterway, only nine miles away from Lake Michigan.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released an initial report outlining several steps to ensure the Asian carp stays out of the Great Lakes.
The proposed $275 million USD plan involves strengthening the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, a complex southwest of Chicago, which is a crucial site in Illinois where Asian carp could reach the Great Lakes and threaten its native fish population.
The plan includes using a mix of technological and structural upgrades, including building an underwater noise-making system to deter fish from entering the waterway and installing a new approach channel equipped with an electric barrier that would repel and stun fish. The report also proposes installing water jets along the bottom of the channel to blast away any fish caught up around the barges.
“The Army Corps report makes clear that it’s time for serious preventative actions to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center in an interview with the Associated Press. “The ecological and economic costs of further delays are not sensible or acceptable.”
If approved, construction could be completed by 2025.