By Joel Hodgdon, Central Midwestern States Coordinator
On August 2, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and several other partners in the recreational boating and angling community signed on to a letter urging the US Corps of Engineer’s (USACE) expedited consideration of the Tentatively Selected Plan at Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois.
The plan calls for the construction of several modifications to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan, including water jets, an electric barrier, a flushing lock, boat launches and a mooring area. Currently, the USACE’s timeline would prevent Congressional approval and authorization of the plan until at least 2021.
Asian carp, an aquatic invasive species, were discovered just nine miles from Lake Michigan in 2017. Should the species get into the Great Lakes system, it could negatively impact the largest freshwater ecosystem in North America.
The fishing industry in the Great Lakes region is a major economic driver with close to 2 million anglers that annually add $5.6 billion and roughly 45,000 jobs to the regional economy. Anglers also heavily contribute to the region’s conservation funding. In Illinois alone, anglers contributed over $16 million dollars to the conservation of the state’s natural resources in 2017.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (13.75%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (11.25%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (61.25%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.75%)