Durbin Sponsors Bill To Cut Off Waterways from Lake Michigan, Stop Spread of Asian Carp

FOX News Chicago
June 30, 2010
By: Nancy Pender

Chicago - The battle against the Asian carp has just been stepped up a notch.

Legislation introduced Wednesday would force the Army Corps of Engineers to speed up research on ways to stop the spread of Asian carp by permanently separating waterways that link the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes.

Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan authored the legislation. It follows the recent discovery of an Asian carp beyond electric barriers designed to keep them out of the Great Lakes.

"The discovery of an Asian carp in Lake Calumet just a few weeks ago is a wake-up call," said Durbin.

The legislation would require the U.S. Corps of Engineers to complete research on so-called hydrological separation within 18 months. The Army Corps has said the study would take up to five years.

"It's done in one or two places in the world," said Durbin. "It may not be feasible here but we want the Army Corps of Engineers to move on this quickly."

Instead of boats or barges moving through the current network of canals, the study will investigate the viability of using massive boat lifts to help them bypass the blockade.

Michigan and other Great Lake states have pursued the closure of locks leading to Lake Michigan in an attempt to stop the invasive carp.

Their efforts have been rejected twice by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Durbin and Stabenow pledge to keep fighting the lock closure battle while the Army Corps of Engineers studies the permanent separation proposal.