By Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
On September 26, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Upper Midwestern States Manager Nick Buggia and CSF partners participated in a meeting with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) at the Pentagon to discuss the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Project and the threat Asian Carp pose to the Great Lakes.
The Brandon Road Lock and Dam is situated on the Illinois River, south of Chicago, and could serve as a strategic barrier in the spread of invasive species from the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes.
Asian carp, specifically silver carp and bighead carp, pose the greatest threat to the Great Lakes native fish populations. They are prolific spawners, have relatively few predators, and feed on plankton, which forms the base of the food chain for smaller native fish species that are important prey for sport fish. If Asian carp are allowed to become established, they could wreak havoc on the food chain, negatively impacting recreational fisheries, as well as state and local economies in the region.
The group met with the ACOE to advocate for approving and expediting a Tentatively Selected Plan proposal that would create a more effective barrier between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. The proposed project would make improvements to the current lock and dam, including: adding complex noise barriers; water jets; a newly engineered channel to increase the effectiveness of controls; electric barrier; and flushing lock. These improvements will help contain the upstream spread of Asian carp and other invasive species.
Recently, the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus of the Council for State Governments (CSG) unanimously passed a resolution at their annual meeting in Erie, Pennsylvania urging the President, Congress, and the COE to address the problem. CSF will continue to work with lawmakers and partners to monitor and prevent the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species in the region, which pose a significant threat to recreational fisheries and the Great Lakes economy.
CSF’s Upper Midwestern States Manager Nick Buggia (right) and partners at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project discussion.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?