8-year carp time line criticized
Efforts to halt spread of invasive species may take until 2025
Muskegon — Critics bemoaned the eight-year time line the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that it would take to implement its plan to keep the invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.
Army Corps officials said the $275 million proposed project, which includes building a series of barriers, could take until 2025 to finish. But Michigan officials and others said at the meeting that the discovery of an Asian carp near Lake Michigan makes the situation more urgent.
In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found a live Asian carp near Lake Michigan well beyond a network of electric barriers 37 miles southwest of Chicago. A follow-up survey found no other invasive carp.
“We must take action now because failing to do so could jeopardize one of our nation’s greatest natural resources,” U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, wrote in a letter to the Army Corps that a staffer read at the Muskegon meeting.
Jon Allen with the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes added that the long-term solution should be creating a physical separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin, which is where the Asian carp first appeared.
Col. Craig Baumgartner with the Army Corps of Engineers said it’s possible construction could be complete before 2025.
The hearing comes after Snyder and environmental groups demanded immediate action when the Trump administration in early August released the longawaited report.
The agency is collecting public comments until Nov. 16. Then it will conduct a feasibility study, followed by reviews by federal and state agencies and a chief of engineers report due in August 2019. If authorized and funded by Congress, the project is expected to take about four years to build.