Price tag put on stopping Asian carp

Feb. 1, 2012 at 8:30 PM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- It would cost taxpayers $3 billion and take 10 years to close off Chicago waterways from the Great Lakes to keep out invasive Asian carp, a study found.

The privately funded study released Wednesday says separating the two watersheds would create jobs and could end up being cheaper than spending money every year to fight invasive species, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The engineering study proposes building one to five new barriers near Chicago, rerouting cargo and pleasure boats and constructing huge tunnels to deal with floodwaters that could no longer be directed into Lake Michigan.

Funding would have to come to come from Congress, which has allocated more than $80 million to combat Asian carp in the past two years.

"Physically separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds is the best long-term solution for preventing the movement of Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species, and our report demonstrates that it can be done," said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission that prepared the $2 million study.

Asian carp, which have made their way slowly up the Mississippi River, are currently held back by a series of three electric barriers south of Chicago.

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