Top officials of the Corps of Engineers told a committee of Congress on February 11 that Asian carp are not advancing north of an electric barrier designed to stop them, and that the limits of their movements have not changed since 2006.

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, the Corps’ commanding general, told the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development that the invasive carp’s advance has stalled south of the barrier built in 2002 to keep them from the Great Lakes.

“The point is, the leading edge of the Asian carp has not changed movement since 2006,” Bostick said in response to a question from Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).

Bostick said adult fish remain about 55 miles away from Lake Michigan, south of the barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the only navigable aquatic link between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. The carp’s spawning area is 62 miles from Lake Michigan and established populations of the invasive fish are 143 miles from the lake, he said.

Testifying alongside Bostick were Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy and Maj. Gen. John Peabody.

AWO Objects To Brandon Road Lock Changes
Darcy told legislators the agency plans to study additional carp control measures at the Brandon Road Lock on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Ill. Peabody said the agency has about $2.5 million to get the study started.

A redesign of the Brandon Road Lock system was suggested as part of the multi-year Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study released in early 2014. The Great Lakes Commission, an interstate agency created under the Great Lakes Compact, supports modifying the Brandon Road Lock with electric barriers at both ends and using “fish deterrents, modifications to the gates on the dam, and other technologies” to keep carp from moving upstream. A new Brandon Road barrier would cost about $25 million.

In a recent newsletter detailing comments submitted Janaury 30 to the Corps, The American Waterways Operators took issue with the Corps’ proposed changed to the Brandon Road Lock scoping project.

AWO maintains that the Corps lacks authority to advance the project, which properly requires congressional action. AWO also said that insufficient project information was presented to stakeholders, which made it difficult to offer substantive comments. There may be safety issues associated with the installation of new electric barriers, AWO said, and concerns that the project is not consistent with Congressional direction to study and implement options to stop the two-way transfer of aquatic invasive species.

Several members of the UnLock Our Jobs coalition submitted similar comments.