Policy Watch

Illinois receives $226 million for project to block invasive carp from Great Lakes

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A landmark environmental project championed by Joyce Foundation grantees and many other partners to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes has received critical federal funds that will pay for the completion of design work and the start of construction at Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. Brandon Road is a natural chokepoint in the system to keep invasive carp from getting into the Great Lakes where they could devastate the region’s ecosystem and economy.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on January 19 it was allocating $226 million for the project as part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act 2022 Construction Work Plan. Funding will pay for preconstruction, engineering and design of the project intended to prevent invasive carp from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes. These funds could also allow the project to move seamlessly to the construction phase once the design phase is complete.

Invasive carp pose a serious threat to the ecological health of the Great Lakes and would threaten the region’s annual $7 billion fishing industry, and $16 billion per year recreational boating industry. The species has already wreaked havoc on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, outcompeting native fish for food and habitat and creating a safety threat for people who recreate on these waterways.

“This is a historic step forward for this critically needed project to add a chain of smart technologies to the waterway that will stop invasive carp from reaching Lake Michigan,” said Molly Flanagan, the Foundation’s Environment consultant and Alliance for the Great Lakes chief operating officer and vice president for programs.

About The Joyce Foundation

Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

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