Illinois Project Aims to Keep Invasive Carp Out of Great Lakes
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
The threat of invasive species to America's lakes and rivers has increased in recent years, but one Illinois project is attempting to protect the Great Lakes.
Invasive carp reproduce rapidly and consume a large portion of the forage which sustains many other native species, threatening not only the ecosystem but also the sport fishing industry on the lakes.
The Brandon Road Interbasin Lock and Dam near Joliet is being redesigned with the goal of keeping invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. The project is about halfway through its design phase.
Drew YoungeDyke, director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation, said the new lock will include an engineered channel with a number of deterrent technologies.
"They're going to rebuild that to include a suite of smart-technology deterrents to invasive carp, things like additional electric barriers, sound barriers, a flushing lock," YoungeDyke outlined. "All within an engineered channel that will allow them to also add new technologies as they're developed."
The sport fishing industry on the Great Lakes is estimated to add $7 billion per year to the regional economy and supports 75,000 jobs.
Congress has appropriated enough money for the design and initial phase of construction at Brandon Road, but YoungeDyke stressed their focus now is on Congress fully funding the project to see it through to its completion.
"We're in a race against time to make sure that invasive carp don't get past where that is now, before it's built and completed," YoungeDyke emphasized. "We want to make sure that as it's funded through at least the first couple of years of construction, we want to make sure that it's able to continue without delay."
YoungeDyke added the design calls for the engineered channel deterrents to be installed first and be functional before the rest of the project is completed.
YoungeDyke has been involved in the creation of two short films on the subject of the invasive carp and the threat they represent. The more recent of the films, released in September, "Against the Current 2," focused on the threat to the Great Lakes.
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