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Pritzker still balking at cost of Asian Carp plan

Friday, Nov 8, 2019

* Alliance for the Great Lakes

Federal and state agencies announced [last] Friday that invasive Asian Carp DNA has been found in Bubbly Creek in Chicago, which is about 5 miles from Lake Michigan. This spike in eDNA so close to Lake Michigan is a cause for alarm. Agencies have commenced increased sampling and monitoring in the area.

In reaction to this alarming news, Alliance for the Great Lakes President & CEO Joel Brammeier released the following statement:

“This discovery is yet another sign that we are teetering on the edge of a nightmare scenario. The time for delay is over. We need Governor Pritzker to show leadership and take swift action to sign the letter of agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers that would allow them to move forward with fortifying Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, a critical choke-point for invasive Asian Carp about 50 miles downstream of Chicago. It’s our best chance to stop these aggressive fish from creeping closer to the Great Lakes and crashing our regional economy.”

* I saw a story about the press release online and reached out to the Pritzker administration…

The administration takes the threat Asian Carp poses seriously and is working with surrounding states to ensure plans to prevent the invasive species are cost effective for every state involved.

I was also told that the new infrastructure program includes $2.5 million for pre-construction, engineering, and design work for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project.

OK, but the price tag is $778 million, up from an earlier estimate of $275 million.

* This is what the governor said in April

“I would like to discuss how we can lower the cost of this plan and still effectively address the threat of Asian carp,” Pritzker said. “I will not sign a Project Partnership Agreement without a cost control strategy and additional cost sharing among the states.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    Get ready for Carp recipes…?

  2. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    The alternative, which is preferred by the other Great Lakes states and provinces, is to fill in the diversions. This would be more costly to Chicago (the city would need to upgrade sewage treatment) and to commerce (it would close an important shipping lane).

    The diversion is an anomaly which the other Great Lakes states and provinces would very much like to end. If the city and state want to keep it, they will need to pony up.

  3. - Simply Sayin' - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    The $2.5 million budgeted is too low to do much of anything, but props to not agreeing to sign until a cost control strategy and cost sharing is pinned down (this isn’t an Illinois-only issue).

  4. - City Zen - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    Redirect $205 million from the Peotone airport.

  5. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    For those who want to know more, this book is an excellent primer:

    While the concern over invasive carp is justifiable on its own, the background on battles over water is important to understand why there is a push to fill in the diversion.

  6. - Chicagonk - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    I agree that there should be cost-sharing on this and help from the feds, but wouldn’t this be a much better use of the money that was dedicated to the Peotone airport to nowhere?

  7. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    This should be a big federal issue
    If only we had a US Senator with lots of seniority and in a leadership position

  8. - Just A Dude - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    Pot calling kettle: That looks like very interesting read, it’s going on my list. Thanks.

  9. - JeffersonTDuncan - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    Maybe at the next state fair there should be a dedicated booth serving asian carp recipes.

  10. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    Weren’t we supposed to be selling these to the Chinese as “wild Mississippi River fish”? Did they come to their senses, or was that just wishful thinking?

  11. - An_Illinois_Man - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    The Asian Carp threat is no joke. These fish would destroy the Great Lakes ecosystem. Democrats want to talk about saving the environment… this is how you can save the environment. Pritzker needs to step up.

  12. - Curious - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    Is this a battle that can be won?

  13. - Soylent Blue - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    ==The Asian Carp threat is no joke. These fish would destroy the Great Lakes ecosystem.==

    Very true but this is a non-partisan economic development issue that both parties should understand. That said, the Federal government should bear the lion’s share of the cost.

  14. - Wonk - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    Pot calling kettle, I also recommend Dan Egan’s Death and Life of the Great Lakes. Both are good reads on this important shared resource. Gary Wilson’s reporting is also good, often posted at

  15. - Mason born - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    This ones on us, that diversion is an opening that can’t be maintained if we’re going to keep the Carp out and we Really need to keep them out. I suspect the rest of the lake states will help to pay for closing that, asking them to pay for Band-Aids isn’t very reasonable. It’s going to be expensive both for Commerce and Chicago but if we don’t it is a disaster.

  16. - Joel Brammeier - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    @Simply Sayin’ - the $2.5 million in the capital bill will pay part of the local share of engineering design work. Illinois has no obligation to pay for any construction costs right now, it’s just about getting a design done, which costs a little less than $30 million. Michigan has offered to pay $8 million for design work - between IL and MI, the local costs are already covered.

  17. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:52 pm:

    If Asian carp could be used to fill potholes, the problem would solve itself.

  18. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    ==the rest of the lake states will help to pay for closing that, asking them to pay for Band-Aids isn’t very reasonable.==

    That’s the thing with fed $$$. The other states will support a closure before a fancy, expensive “barrier” that still allows diversion of water.

  19. - Mason born - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:58 pm:


    There is truth in that, you can usually get the Feds to pay for Band-Aids instead of actual solutions. Esp if it comes with poto ops.

  20. - Amalia - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    If something is able to live in Bubbly Creek, you know it is powerful stuff. Get on this, Governor.

  21. - Nieva - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    This only became a huge problem when it made it to Chicago and the Great Lakes. Our rivers and lakes in Southern Illinois are full of these damn things and there is no way to get rid of them. Sorry about your luck.

  22. - Captain Obvious - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    Cost control strategy? Seriously? Since when has the state ever had a cost control strategy?

  23. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    KY has an acoustic fence at Lake Barkley Dam

  24. - MyTwoCents - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:15 pm:

    Considering that Asian carp did not just magically appear in the Illinois River nor is Illinois responsible for importing the fish into the US in the first place the Fed government needs to pay the majority of the cost and every state from the south on up the Mississippi River needs to be chipping in on the cost of any project to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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