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Michigan reaffirms $8-million pledge towards barriers to keep Asian Carp from reaching Lake Michigan

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Michigan reaffirmed its pledge of $8-million this week towards building a barrier to stop Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Experts say asian carp could devastate the Great Lakes ecosystem if they can establish a foothold there.

The state funds for the project had previously been set aside under then-Governor Snyder, but officials say this pledge was made in writing to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Tammy Newcomb is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. She said in order for the project to move forward it needed a commitment of roughly $10-million from non-federal partners.

“And so Michigan has agreed to collaborate and come forward with Illinois as non-federal sponsors to move forward with project engineering and design,” she said.

Previously, Illinois Governor JB Prtizker had pledged $2.5 million towards the project.

The Army Corps’ roughly $800-million plan to build barriers to keep Asian Carp from reaching Lake Michigan is still awaiting Congressional approval. The plan was submitted to Congress earlier this year.

Michigan’s pledge comes just days after a new report found increased environmental DNA of Asian Carp close to Lake Michigan. Environmental DNA is a potential early indicator of Asian Carp presence.

“It’s just a reminder to us all that time is passing us by and we need something that will be a long term solution to protecting the Great Lakes,” Newcomb said.

According to Newcomb, a design agreement is still needed between Illinois and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Officials with the Illinois DNR said they are in the process of signing a preliminary engineering and design agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers.