World

Michigan boosts efforts to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes


Michigan is home to 21% of the world’s fresh water, but in recent years the Great Lakes have had a problem with invasive carp.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday that Michigan has signed an agreement in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois to create the Brandon Road Interbasin Project — massively stepping up efforts to block pesky invasive fish from the Great Lakes.

With $274 million in federal funds and $114 million in state funds secured for the first of three phases, the overall $1.15 billion project promises to make an impact.

“The Great Lakes are the beating heart of Michigan’s economy,” Whitmer said in a press release. “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 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.”

Invasive carp, particularly bighead, silver, and black carp, are like the bullies of the fish world, pushing out other Great Lakes species such as lake whitefish, perch, and walleye. If these carp were to invade the Great Lakes basin, inland rivers and lakes would also be at risk. Additionally, the high-flying silver carp are known for their acrobatic leaps out of the water, sometimes crashing into boaters and causing injuries. Their antics have driven many boaters away from infested lakes, ruining fishing trips and fun on the water.

The Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, is like the ultimate bouncer for the Great Lakes, ready to stop invasive carp in their tracks. The upcoming project will feature an elaborate series of deterrents to keep these unwelcome guests and other aquatic nuisance species out.

“This agreement is a pivotal step forward in preventing the spread of harmful, invasive carp throughout our Great Lakes,” U.S. Senator Gary Peters said. “For years, invasive carp have threatened our environment, as well as key industries that rely on healthy Great Lakes to help power our state’s economy.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel added, “The Great Lakes hold countless memories for many of us, from catching our first fish to watching loved ones play on their shores. They are central to our Pure Michigan identity. This landmark agreement marks a significant victory in protecting these lakes from invasive, dangerous carp, ensuring the joy and beauty of these waters remain for all to enjoy.”



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