Congress passed a bipartisan bill late Monday night that would authorize the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA) and the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project.
The WRDA authorization comes as part of a larger COVID-19 relief package aimed at stimulating the economy, providing economic aid to small businesses and shoring up unemployment benefits. President Trump is expected to sign the COVID-19 relief bill.
The Brandon Road Lock and Dam project — the last chokepoint for invasive Asian carp entering the Great Lakes — would install acoustic fish deterrents, an air bubble curtain, an electric fish barrier and other provisions to help stop the spread of invasive carp such as bighead and silver carp.
Invasive carp not only present a threat to Great Lakes’ ecosystems but also put in jeopardy Michigan’s robust outdoor industry which contributes $11.2 billion annually to Michigan’s economy, according to a study commissioned by Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
MUCC has worked within our state, with neighboring states, federal agencies and tribal stakeholders to ensure our Great Lakes’ watershed is protected from invasive carp, said MUCC Executive Director Amy Trotter.
“MUCC has worked fervently for more than a decade on invasive Asian carp,” Trotter said. “Finally, after years of advocacy work at the state and federal level, MUCC and its partners in conservation are pleased to see bipartisan federal support for an issue so close to Michiganders’ hearts.”
In the bill package, Congress agreed to cover 80 percent of the construction costs — a price tag of more than $858 million. As the non-federal sponsor of the package, Illinois will be responsible for 20 percent of the cost.