The new federal budget includes millions for programs helping the Illinois side of Lake Michigan, including efforts to keep out Asian carp.
The omnibus spending bill would maintain the $300 million funding level for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This provides money for areas surrounding harbor cleanup, reducing farm and city runoff, and combating invasive species like the carp.
Jordan Lubetkin, spokesman for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, says besides funding some prevention measures to block the carp, it also urges the Army Corps of Engineers to get moving on redesigning the Brandon Road Lock & Dam in Joliet along the Des Plaines River.
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"It's a point that's been identified as a very strategic and important place, so they're looking at that as an interim step to hopefully...bolster our defenses as we keep our eyes on the prize," Lubetkin said. "The most effective long-term solution is separating, which it once was, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin."
Lubetkin says these funding measures won't last beyond this budget. With the next spending package being the last under President Barack Obama, Lubetkin hopes whichever presidential candidate replaces him makes Great Lakes restoration a priority, which he says Obama and George W. Bush did.
The budget is expected to be voted on by Congress Friday.