Durbin: Congress Approves More than $6.5 Million in Federal Funding for Asian Carp Barrier

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that Congress has approved $6.537 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue operation and construction on the Asian Carp Barrier project. The Omnibus Appropriations Act included funding for the barrier project which will prevent the spread of invasive species, including Asian Carp, between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.


“The Asian Carp threatens both the native fish and natural wildlife of the lake and in turn, the economy of the entire Great Lakes region,” said Durbin. “Currently, this invasive species threatens the sport and commercial fishing industry in the Great Lakes. The Army Corps has made it clear that both a backup and a primary barrier are needed to prevent these harmful fish from entering the waters of the Great Lakes. In addition to funding both barriers this year, I worked to secure funding for a study to investigate prevention technologies.”


Asian Carp threaten the Great Lakes ecosystem because they consume large quantities of phytoplankton, which is critical to the stability of the ecosystem. Originally, they were introduced to the United States as a management tool for aqua culture farms and sewage treatment facilities. The carp have made their way north to the Illinois River after escaping from fish farms during massive flooding along the Mississippi River. Asian Carp can grow to an average of four feet and 60 pounds, and can consume up to 40 percent of their body weight in plankton per day.


Specifically, today’s legislation


o Appropriates $6,250,000 to make permanent a system to eliminate potential bypasses of non-indigenous aquatic nuisance species such as the Asian Carp. Funding would also keep the current demonstration barrier operational and begin construction to make permanent the first demonstration barrier.


o $287,000 to initiate a study, including consultations with appropriate Federal, State, local and non-governmental agencies on the range of options and technologies to prevent the inter-basin transfer of aquatic nuisance species.