Rauner offers to partner on efforts on Joliet-area project to halt advance of Asian carp
Gov. Bruce Rauner is offering to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a project to be undertaken in the Joliet area aimed at preventing Asian carp from spreading to Lake Michigan.
In a press release, Army engineers described Illinois as “the only state with the necessary rights-of-way, public water authority and jurisdiction to serve as the non-federal sponsor and move properly mitigated measures forward to not only protect the Great Lakes, but our taxpayers, economy,and environment.”
Rauner, who is up for re-election this year, has also extended an invitation to the seven other Great Lakes governors to be a part of the effort and work with Illinois and Army Corps of Engineers in getting the Asian carp problem more under control.
Over the last eight years, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has led 27 local, state, federal and provincial partners in similar efforts, reportedly removing as much as 93 percent of the Asian carp population from its leading edge since 2012.
“No one cares more about protecting Lake Michigan and our Great Lakes than the state of Illinois,” Rauner said in the release. “While Illinois has jurisdiction over our waterways and is the only state authorized to serve as project lead, I realize we cannot be effective unless we work together. That is why I invite my colleagues to work with Illinois in a new coalition to protect our lakes, our economy and our ecosystems.”
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal said all indications are ongoing efforts have gone a long way in alleviating the problem.
“Since 1990, Asian carp have not moved from their current location, nearly 50 miles from Lake Michigan in the Dresden Island Pool,” he said. “Science tells us our efforts have been effective.”
Just over a decade ago, Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to study Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species (AIS). Back in 2015, Congress identified Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet as the site for further efforts aimed at enhanced efforts to limit the upstream transfer of aquatic invasive species.
More recently, some state officials have expressed concerns about transportation headaches, soaring costs and damage to the Des Plaines River ecosystem.
“If the corps can address our economic, transportation, environmental and cost concerns in partnership with Illinois, we have no problem working with other states to enhance our efforts at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam,” Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, also chairman of the Illinois River Coordinating Council, said in the release.