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Whitmer partners with Army Corps to block invasive species from the Great Lakes

Whitmer partners with Army Corps to block invasive species from the Great Lakes

By Michigan Advance

July 2, 2024

BY KYLE DAVIDSON, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced that the state would cosponsor an effort with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the state of Illinois to prevent invasive carp and aquatic nuisance species from entering the Great Lakes.

The agreement to cosponsor the Brandon Road Interbasin Project will unlock $274 million in federal and $114 million in state funding for the first of three phases of the $1.15 billion project, according to a statement from Whitmer’s office.

“Today’s agreement will help us get shovels in the ground as soon as possible on the critical Brandon Road project,” Whitmer said. 

“The Great Lakes are the beating heart of Michigan’s economy, and Brandon Road will help us protect local communities and key industries, including fishing and boating, that support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. I am grateful to Governor [J.B.] Pritzker in Illinois, the Army Corps of Engineers, and our champions in Congress for their long-term partnership on this monumental task. Together, we will get the job done so we can protect our lakes and power economic growth for generations to come,” she said.

Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Ill., serves as a critical pinch point to stop invasive carp from moving into the Great Lakes, with the Brandon Road Interbasin Project implementing a series of complex deterrents for invasive carp and aquatic nuisance species.

Invasive carp—particularly bighead, silver and black carp—have the potential to outcompete native fish species in the Great Lakes, resulting in fewer fish like lake whitefish, perch, and walleye. Rivers and lakes would also be vulnerable if invasive carp were to populate the Great Lakes basin.

Silver carp are also known to leap into the air, which has injured boaters in the Illinois River and other areas where the fish are present. Silver carp infesting waters has led to decreased opportunities for fishing and in many cases boaters have ceased to enjoy the waters in these areas.

“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in the protection of Michigan’s natural resources, in this case one of our most prized natural resources, the Great Lakes,” Scott Bowen, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said in a statement. “I want to thank and congratulate everyone involved in this effort, at the state and national level, for the years of effort that went into making this day a reality. Our children and grandchildren will thank them, too.”

Michigan has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers and other Great Lakes states since 2011, with Michigan and Illinois appropriating enough funding to meet the nonfederal funding requirement to begin construction in 2023.

US Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and US Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor) cheered the agreement, with each noting their efforts to secure resources for the project.

“The Brandon Road Interbasin Project is essential to stopping invasive carp from wreaking havoc on our Great Lakes, and today we are hitting a major milestone—the start of the construction phase. I’ve worked tirelessly over the years to get this critical project to this point, alongside my partners in the U.S. Senate, Michigan, Illinois, and the Army Corps of Engineers. This is a big win that will protect our Great Lakes for generations to come,” Stabenow said in a statement.

READ MORE: Michigan gets $62M from Biden administration to protect clean drinking water

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license.

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CATEGORIES: NATURE
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