Tuesday, August 8, 2017

On Asian carp issue, does Illinois really have faith? Or is state just cheap!

The Asian Carp, a species of fish that devours everything in its path and whose presence in the Great Lakes would likely kill off all the species of fish and plant life that are native to our area, are an issue that we’re supposedly desperate to find a solution to.
Army Corps of Engineers has new plan for Asian carp

For we have evidence that the carp have managed to creep their way up into the Calumet River and are extremely close to the mouth of Lake Michigan – which would feed them into the Great Lakes as a whole.

CATASTROPHE TIME, OR at least that is what we’ve been led to believe.

Yet I find it interesting that Illinois government officials, or at least those in positions of authority within the governor’s office, are skeptical of the latest proposal by the Army Corps of Engineers meant to keep the carp away from the lake.

They talk about an upgrade of the Brandon Road lock and dam near Joliet to include high-power water jets and loud noises – all of which would create enough of a barricade to keep the carp who have swum up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to be up around Joliet from getting any closer to Chicago.

Currently, officials have relied upon electrifying the area on the Des Plaines River so that any carp who try to swim through the area get killed – thereby preventing them from getting any closer to Chicago than they already are.

YET ILLINOIS OFFICIALS made it clear Monday they don’t think much of the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal.

In a prepared statement that state officials say is to be attributed to Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti (she doesn’t do much else), “this new approach is neither cost-effective nor environmentally sound.”

Illinois officials go so far as to say, “Science tells us our comprehensive strategy is working.”
SANGUINETTI: Gets to make carp stance for state

Although I’m sure those people who found evidence of the carp existing in the waters of the Calumet River (which puts them within the Chicago city limits – much too close for comfort to Lake Michigan for some people) don’t have the same faith in the existing measures.

I’M GUESSING WE have to figure out just how much faith do we have in Gov. Bruce Rauner and the judgment of his people to not want to consider taking the additional measures to try to keep the carp out of Chicago.

Because I am fairly certain that if the carp do manage to get to the Great Lakes, there are many people across the region who will be more than eager to blame Chicago for the mess. There are those who always like to bring up the late 19th Century reversal of the flow of the Chicago River as somehow being responsible.

Because if we had let Mother Nature exist as she intended, we might not have such problems. A though of which I’m skeptical.

The point being we probably can’t rule out any solution, although I also appreciate much of the reason for Illinois’ official skepticism is the cost.

THE ARMY CORPS of Engineers’ plan has a $275.4 million price tag – of which Illinois would be on the hook for $95 million in construction costs and another $8 million per year for operations and maintenance expenses.
Could Asian carp have already made it to waters of Calumet River? Photograph by Gregory Tejeda
I know Illinois government is not flush with extra cash these days. Yet there are some expenses we’re probably going to have to just knuckle down and accept. Could this be one of them?

Because while Illinois talks about the disruption of native fish migration patterns that would be caused by noise barriers and water jets, I’m wondering.

How much more will it wind up hurting Illinois financially if the carp do wind up making it all the way into the Great Lakes? A whole lot more than some dead fish carcasses washing ashore on Oak Street Beach!


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