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50 Sportsmen’s Groups Support Swift Action on Asian Carp Plan

Hunters, anglers, conservation groups support the Army Corps of Engineers Brandon Road plan

ANN ARBOR, MICH. — 50 hunting, angling, conservation and outdoor industry organizations submitted public comments today in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Tentatively Selected Plan (plan) to improve defenses at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam, near Joliet, Illinois, and below the Chicago Area Waterway System is a chokepoint to reduce the risk of the invasive Asian carp from swimming directly into Lake Michigan. The plan proposes a gauntlet of technologies including an electric barrier, water jets, complex sound and a flushing lock to reduce the risk that Asian carp get through while still allowing navigation through the lock.

“The organizations submitting these comments represent millions of hunters, anglers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts across the nation, including those who support the Great Lakes $7 billion sport-fishery and even larger outdoor recreation industry,” said Marc Smith, Great Lakes conservation director for the National Wildlife Federation. “We understand that the Asian carp knocking on the door of the Great Lakes threaten our way of life, the economy we support, and the fish and wildlife which support us. While not perfect, the Army Corps of Engineers Brandon Road plan is the best near-term option for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. We cannot waste this opportunity to act.”

While expressing support for the TSP, the groups in the letter also urge the Army Corps of Engineers to pursue full federal funding of the $275 million estimated cost, rather than require a local cost share, due to the national significance of the issue. Additionally, the groups identify that Congress authorized the Corps to prevent aquatic invasive species transfer between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, and therefore the Corps needs to continue pursuing a two-way solution to preventing aquatic invasive species transfer. However, that pursuit should be simultaneous without diverting resources from moving ahead with the TSP. The groups also encourage the Corps to explore aquatic nuisance species (ANS) treatment technology that can be used in the locks, as well as continuing existing non-structural practices which reduce the Asian carp population below the lock and dam. 

“We need stronger controls in place now in order to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from continuing to swim closer to - and eventually into - the Great Lakes,” the groups state in their comments. “Without firm and swift action to stop the further movement of Asian carp and other invasive species, the future of hunting, fishing and our outdoor heritage in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River region is at risk.” The full comment letter is available here.

The Corps issued a timeline with the release of the plan which estimates a final report in August 2019, at which point it will be up to Congress to approve and fund the project, with a construction completion date of 2025 if there is no delay in approval and funding. 

The 50 groups signing on to the comment letter of support include, in alphabetical order:

• American Sportfishing Association
• Anglers of the Au Sable
• Antigo Chapter Trout Unlimited (WI)
• Austin Chapter 10 of the Izaak Walton League of America
• Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
• Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.)
• The Bass Federation of Michigan
• Bush Lake Chapter Izaak Walton League of America
• Cass County Chapter of the Minnesota Izaak Walton League of America
• Columbiana County Federation of Conservation Clubs (OH)
• Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
• Conservation Federation of Missouri
• Ducks Unlimited
• Fly Fishers International
• Fishing League Worldwide
• Great Lakes Council of Fly Fishers International
• Hoosier Coho Club
• Indiana Wildlife Federation
• Iowa Wildlife Federation
• Izaak Walton League of America
• Lake Erie Charter Boat Association
• Marine Retailers of the Americas
• Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation
• Michigan Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
• Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association
• Michigan Trout Unlimited
• Michigan United Conservation Clubs
• Minnesota Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
• Minnesota Conservation Federation
• Minnesota Division Izaak Walton League of America
• Minnesota Trout Unlimited
• Montmorency County Conservation Club (MI)
• National Professional Anglers Association
• National Wildlife Federation
• New York Trout Unlimited
• Northwest Indiana Steelheaders
• Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association
• Ohio B.A.S.S. Nation
• Ohio Conservation Federation
• Ohio Council of Trout Unlimited
• Owatana Chapter of Izaak Walton League of American (MN)
• Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited
• Silvertip Productions (Ohio)
• Trout Unlimited
• W.J. McCabe (Duluth) Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America
• Wabasha Chapter, MN Division, Izaak Walton League of America
• Wild Rivers Chapter, Trout Unlimited (WI)
• Wisconsin Chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
• Wisconsin Trout Unlimited 
• Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

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