Governors jointly request federal funding to stop invasive carp from entering Great Lakes

Officials hope to finalize Brandon Road Lock and Dam

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the bipartisan Council of Great Lakes Governors joined forces to ask federal leaders to include funding for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the 2022 Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

The goal is to prevent a species of invasive carp from entering Michigan’s water and protect key industries and tens of thousands of jobs.

“The Great Lakes are the beating heart of Michigan’s economy, and we are taking action to put Michigan first and protect the Great Lakes,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “By funding the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, we can protect local economies and key, multi-billion-dollar industries that support tens of thousands of jobs including fishing and boating. I am proud that my fellow Great Lakes governors from both parties and I are coming together to continue uplifting our economies, build the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, and keep invasive carp out.” 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) director Dan Eichinger said guarding the Great Lakes against invasive carp is one of the most urgent tasks for those in charge of protecting Michigan’s natural resources.

“The Brandon Road Lock and Dam marks a key pinch point for keeping these harmful species out of the lakes. This proposed funding will help secure a better future for the Great Lakes and for all those who cherish and depend upon them,” Eichinger said.

Read: $778 million plan to prevent Asian carp from invading Great Lakes moves forward

What is the Brandon Road Lock and Dam?

The Brandon Road Lock and Dam is located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a critical point in the Chicago Area Waterways System for stopping invasive carp -- particularly bighead and silver carp -- from entering Lake Michigan.

Through prior legislative and agency actions, the federal government has already recognized the importance of stopping the introduction and spread of invasive carp.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a Chief’s Report to Congress with a plan of action at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to prevent the invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes. Congress authorized the construction of the Brandon Road Project in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that cost $858,047,000.

Whitmer and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker have agreed to work jointly to protect the Great Lakes from invasive carp species in Jan. 2021. They announced an intergovernmental agreement between the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan DNR.

That partnership allows Illinois to use up to $8 million in funds appropriated in 2018 by the Michigan Legislature as a match to support a phase of the Brandon Road Ecosystem Interbasic Project.

The USACE and the State of Illinois signed a design agreement in 2021 to complete the project. The process is estimated to cost $29 million and take 3 to 4 years. Illinois and Michigan have committed to provide the 35% non-federal cost share for that phase.

The Great Lakes states are unable to pay the remaining balance for the design, construction, operation and maintenance. That’s why governors from the Great Lakes states are asking for federal backing.

Click here to learn more about the project.

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.