Great Lakes invasive carp barrier project reaches major milestone

The coalition of states and government agencies working to protect the Great Lakes from invasive carp reached a major milestone, the Michigan governor announced Monday.

Gretchen Whitmer signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois to help fund a billion-dollar project to prevent the species from reaching Lake Michigan. If the invasive carp species managed to establish itself in the Great Lakes, it would threaten the system's biodiversity and economy.

Whitmer's signature guarantees Michigan is a cosponsor of the Brandon Road Interbasin Project, funneling $114 million in state money.

The project would help armor a critical pinch point by adding an air bubble curtain, acoustic deterrents, and other barriers that will prevent silver, bighead, and black carp from getting into Lake Michigan.

"Today’s agreement will help us get shovels in the ground as soon as possible on the critical Brandon Road project," said Whitmer. "The Great Lakes are the beating heart of Michigan’s economy, and Brandon Road will help us protect local communities and key industries, including fishing and boating, that support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs."

The lock and dam project has been in the works since 2011. 

Since then, there's been studies and planning that have helped identify the best place to install a barrier system and calculate the monumental cost of the project.