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MLive: Asian carp gauntlet project ‘off to the races’ with Army Corps funding

Efforts to stop invasive silver and bighead carp from reaching Lake Michigan by fortifying a chokepoint in the Chicago waterway system are accelerating thanks to new funding for project design and engineering in the latest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget.

The Army Corps included $3.8 million for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam gauntlet project in its fiscal year 2021 work plan, released on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

That money, coupled with $10.5 million pledged from Illinois, (which includes $8 million from Michigan) means “the project can begin in earnest now,” said Molly Flanagan, chief operating officer for the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago.

“You’ve got all of the funding that you need from the states and now we have all of the funding we need from the federal government for the first year of pre-construction engineering and design,” Flanagan said. “Essentially, it’s off to the races.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, who co-chairs the House Great Lakes Task Force, issued an enthusiastic statement about the new Army Corps funding.

“Protecting the Great Lakes must be a national priority,” Huizenga said. “I am glad to see the Army Corps fulfill this bipartisan request to support early phase funding for the Brandon Road Project. Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers, and stakeholders across the Great Lakes must continue to work together to stop Asian carp from entering the ecosystem.”

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