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.
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?