Environmental groups say the best way to stop the spread of Asian carp is to create a physical barrier between the Mississippi River basin and Lake Michigan. That was one of the options given in an Army Corps of Engineers report released on Monday. While a barrier could cost between $15 billion and $18 billion and take 25 years to build, environmentalists believe it’s the only option.
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“Make no mistake, we have crossed the threshold with the release of this report,” said Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “For the first time, we have a serious federal consideration of the separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River on the table.” While Brammeier admits that separation comes at a hefty price, he says the Asian carp has to be stopped no matter what the cost.
The shipping industry is against building a physical barrier, claiming it will disrupt commercial traffic on Illinois’ waterways without stopping the spread of invasive species. Public comments on the issue will be heard at a series of meetings in Great Lakes cities, starting in Chicago on Thursday.