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Governor Whitmer responds to federal Asian carp prevention plan


February 28, 2019

Contact: Tammy Newcomb,

Governor Whitmer responds to federal Asian carp prevention plan

Michigan supports regional cooperation, expresses concerns about increased cost estimate for measures at Brandon Road Lock and Dam

Noting that protecting the Great Lakes is a top priority, Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week submitted her response to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report detailing potential future actions at Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois, a critical pinch point for stopping Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan. LANSING, Mich. -

Whitmer’s letter was joined by one from Daniel Eichinger, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which has long been involved in federal and bi-national efforts to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of invasive Asian carp.

The potential effects of Asian carp on the Great Lakes economy and natural resources lend a shared sense of urgency to the responses.

Michigan’s responses fundamentally support the Brandon Road Report, officially titled the “Final Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study – Brandon Road Integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement.” The report sets forth the federally recommended plan to prevent aquatic invasive species, chiefly invasive carp, from moving through the Chicago Area Waterway System into the Great Lakes.
“Michigan’s tourism industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports depend on the preservation of our water, but right now, an increasing number of Asian Carp are being detected near Brandon Road, and it’s putting the future of our Great Lakes, our economy and Michiganders’ well-being at risk,” Whitmer stated in her letter.

The report calls for restructuring the Brandon Road Lock and Dam and installing acoustic and electric barriers, an air bubble curtain and several other technologies to deter Asian carp movement.

The State of Michigan supports layering multiple technologies at the site to improve overall protections, but there is also a recognition that more work needs to be done to refine the design before additional measures are installed. The state supports expanded involvement of Michigan and other “partner jurisdictions” in the engineering and design phase of the project to spur innovation and improve transparency and understanding of the project. The Michigan response also encourages consideration of emerging technologies, including a cavitation barrier – a concept that earned the top award in Michigan’s 2018 Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge.

Whitmer expressed concern about the project’s estimated cost, noting that since the August 2017 publication of the draft Brandon Road Report (the Tentatively Selected Plan), cost estimates have tripled – from $275 million to $778 million – despite relatively few changes in the plan.

“If invasive carp were to enter the Great Lakes basin, the consequences would be irreversible and costly,” Eichinger stated in his letter. “Action is urgently needed to keep invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes.”
Citing urgency as well as potential cost savings, Eichinger’s letter calls for accelerating the pace of the project, which has a targeted construction completion date of 2027, and provides ideas to streamline the project’s design.

To view the full letters, click on the links below: