8-year carp time line crit­i­cized

Ef­forts to halt spread of in­va­sive species may take un­til 2025

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY MICHAEL GERSTEIN Detroit News Lans­ing Bureau

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.

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