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Michigan, Illinois, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Partner on Landmark Invasive Carp Barrier Project

LANSING – The States of Michigan and Illinois have signed a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement a long-awaited invasive carp barrier at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, whose team provided legal advice and assistance with negotiating the agreement. This critical project aims to prevent invasive bighead, silver and black carp and other aquatic invasive species from entering the Great Lakes by blocking their passage through the Des Plaines River into the Chicago Area Waterway System, while still enabling commercial shipping.  

Invasive carp, specifically bighead and silver carp, pose a significant threat to the region. They consume vast amounts of phytoplankton, the foundation of the lakes’ ecosystem, and reproduce rapidly, outcompeting native fish species. Invasive carp also have no natural predators in the Great Lakes. Silver carp leap out of the water, sometimes over 10 feet in the air, potentially endangering recreational users. The harm from an established invasive carp breeding population in the Great Lakes is estimated to be over $1 billion, impacting the ecosystem, tourism, and fisheries. 

“The Great Lakes hold countless memories for many of us, from catching our first fish to watching loved ones play on their shores,” Nessel said. “They are central to our Pure Michigan identity. This landmark agreement marks a significant victory in protecting these lakes from invasive, dangerous carp, ensuring the joy and beauty of these waters remain for all to enjoy.” 

“Today’s agreement will help us get shovels in the ground as soon as possible on the critical Brandon Road project,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The Great Lakes are the beating heart of Michigan’s economy, and Brandon Road will help us protect local communities and key industries, including fishing and boating, that support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. I am grateful to Governor Pritzker in Illinois, the Army Corps of Engineers, and our champions in Congress for their long-term partnership on this monumental task. Together, we will get the job done so we can protect our lakes and power economic growth for generations to come.”  

The PPA marks the first-ever agreement with two non-federal sponsors. The total estimated cost of the project is approximately $1.14 billion. The federal government will contribute 90% of the cost, with much of that funding provided by President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill. The remaining 10 percent will be split between Michigan and Illinois, with Michigan providing $64 million and Illinois providing $50 million. The state funds have already been approved by both legislatures.


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