Brandon Road Draft Integrated Feasibility Study Released

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRANDON ROAD DRAFT INTEGRATED FEASIBILITY STUDY RELEASED

Brandon Road Tentatively Selected Plan

Contact: Jeff Kohmstedt, Prairie Rivers Network, jkohmstedt@prairierivers.org, 217-344-2371 ext. 207

CHAMPAIGN, IL – The Army Corps of Engineers released the Brandon Road Draft Integrated Feasibility Study yesterday, and Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) applauds the release of the report, which was delayed by the Trump administration, and welcomes the opportunity for public comment.

The plan addresses the prevention of aquatic invasive species (AIS) from reaching Lake Michigan with the use of sound, electric barriers, water jets, and an engineered channel. The plan does not address, however, the reverse invasion of aquatic species from the Great Lakes into the river system. Species like the bloody red shrimp or viral hemorrhagic septicemia, which pose threats to native species in the Illinois River system.

“This report was unnecessarily delayed by the Administration, and that delay put the Great Lakes at further risk from Asian carp,” PRN Water Policy Specialist Robert Hirschfeld said. “It took the June 23rd discovery of an Asian carp just nine miles from Lake Michigan to generate such important bipartisan results in Congress.”

In the wake of the June 23rd discovery, PRN and other partner organizations issued action alerts calling on Congress to force the US Army Corps of Engineers to release the report, a move the Trump administration sought to prevent.

The public outcry generated results in Congress with the introduction of the Stop Asian Carp Now Act by Ohio Representative Marcy Kaptur and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. The bill had 33 co-sponsors in the house and 9 in the Senate. The report’s release took far too long, but now that it has been made public, debate can begin on the merits of its recommendations.

The report estimates the cost of construction to be $275 million with an annual cost of $11.3 million yearly maintenance.

“The Brandon Road Report was unnecessarily delayed,” Hirschfeld said. “Now we can address what’s needed to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes and devastating the multi-billion dollar tourist and commercial fishing industries. These costs are a drop in the ocean compared to the Great Lakes industries at stake from Asian carp.”

Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) is Illinois’ advocate for clean water and healthy rivers and is the Illinois affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. PRN advocates for cultural values, policies and practices that sustain the ecological health and biological diversity of Illinois’ water resources and aquatic ecosystems. It is a member-supported, nonprofit organization that champions clean, healthy rivers and lakes and safe drinking water to benefit the people and wildlife of Illinois.

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