The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will make a decision this month whether to close Chicago’s navigational locks periodically to protect Lake Michigan from the Asian carp. The possibility of having local boat traffic embargoed for as many as four days a week is alarming some Chicago business owners, according to The Chicago Tribune.
More than a million people go on spring and summer boat tours up the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan. But the $78.5 million plan to keep Asian carp from the Great Lakes included proposals for frequently keeping locks along the waterways leading to Lake Michigan closed to make it more difficult for Asian carp to move from the Mississippi to the Great Lakes.
Beyond simply closing the locks, the Army Corps might also prohibit boating on the Chicago River while the locks are closed, allowing biologists free reign to attack the Asian carp in the river using nets, electrical current, or fish toxins.
Michigan’s Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said the plan doesn’t go far enough, insisting the locks between the Great Lakes and the Chicago area should be shut down entirely. The Asian carp threaten the Michigan region’s multibillion-dollar commercial and recreational fishing industry, as they will severely imbalance the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Chicago boat operators worry that even the proposed part-time shutdowns could destroy the boat tour and charter cruise businesses, as well as inhibiting Chicago’s decade-long, multi-million dollar efforts to rebuild its riverside area.
Asian carp fight may close Chicago river [The Chicago Tribune]
Gov. Granholm: Obama administration’s Asian carp plan not enough; locks must be shut [MLive.com]
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