Illinois anglers on Asian carp plan: Just do it and get it over with
Hopping the Lake Michigan shoreline from angler to angler over the Memorial Day weekend, I conducted a survey to see what everyone thinks of the Asian carp situation and whether Illinois should – or could – begin shelling out money to reinforce protection for the lake and the Great Lakes system.
To paraphrase and generalize, 38 out of 50 fishermen I asked said, “Just do it and get it over with, dammit.”
The survey came after news broke that Gov. J.B. Pritzker wrote the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a letter last week indicating that he had authorized the state’s collaboration with preconstruction, design and engineering work in the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet. While doing so, the governor made sure to groan about the price and said his state “isn’t in a financial position to commit to the full plan in its present form.”
The Corps plan includes noisemakers, an “electric obstruction and an air bubble curtain in a station eliminate those that don’t return and to deter fish.”
An upgraded version of the plan released last November set the price tag at $778 million, much higher than a previous $275 million quote.
“I want to talk about how we can diminish the price of the plan and still effectively address the danger of Asian carp,” Pritzker told reporters. “I will not signal a Project Partnership Agreement without a cost control plan and additional cost sharing among the nations.”
Corps spokeswoman Samantha Heilig told The Associated Press that Pritzker’s correspondence “has been forwarded to the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., in which a last report on the project awaits approval by the chief of engineers.”
Read more about the Asian carp plan and upcoming moves in the May 31 issue of Illinois Outdoor News.