Durbin Commends Decision to Invent $13 Million in Efforts to Prevent Asian Carp From Entering Great Lakes

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today commended the decision by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lisa Jackson, to allocate $13 million in funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to prevent Asian carp from migrating further toward the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a new interagency initiative led by the EPA to address the most significant challenges to the Great Lakes including invasive species, contaminated sediments, and non-point source pollution.


“The number one threat facing the health of the Great Lakes is invasive species,” said Durbin. “Asian Carp has the potential to be the most damaging by threatening the native fish and natural wildlife of the lake and in turn, the economy of the entire Great Lakes region. I am glad to see the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative address this issue head on with a significant investment in the Army Corps ongoing efforts.”


Durbin has consistently supported the effort to prevent Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes having recently worked to secure over $6 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue operation and construction on the Asian Carp Barrier project. This funding was approved as part of the FY2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed into law in October 2009. In that legislation, Congress also approved $475 million for President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an unprecedented investment in the nation’s largest fresh surface water ecosystem.


According to the EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers has identified more than $13 million in funding needs for measures to deter Asian carp from moving closer to Lake Michigan. The majority of funding announced today will be used to close conduits and shore up low-lying lands between the Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal and adjacent waterways. Agencies remain concerned that during times of heavy precipitation water – and therefore carp – can wash from adjacent waterways into the Canal. Initiative funding will support work by the Corps to reduce the risk of invasion from these collateral access points. Some of the funding will support more genetic testing to pinpoint where carp may be in the Chicago Area Waterway System. The agencies will continue to identify other mechanisms for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.