Envisioning a Chicago Waterway System for the 21st Century - Phase II

Grant: # 1282

Grant Amount: $225,000.00

Board Decision Year: 2012

Great Lakes Commission (Ann Arbor)

Eder, Tim ([email protected]) 734-971-9135

GLFT - Special Projects- - Special Projects

Project Details

Asian carp are considered among the most serious threats facing the Great Lakes today. They are highly mobile, reproduce and grow quickly, and consume massive quantities of food, enabling them to compete against—and ultimately displace—native species. Silver carp pose a danger to boaters because they jump out of the water when disturbed by boat motors. These invasive carp are poised to invade the Great Lakes through the CAWS, which includes the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) that created an artificial connection between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. An electric dispersal barrier system was constructed on the CSSC to prevent their migration. However, in 2009 new environmental DNA monitoring techniques found evidence of carp upstream of the barrier system. In response, a consensus emerged among many interests that a permanent solution is needed to prevent AIS movement– in both directions – between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, and that this must entail separating the two basins, beginning in the Chicago area.

With previous support from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust (GLFT) and other funders, the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative conducted a study that developed three alternatives for separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River in the CAWS. Released in January 2012, the Restoring the Natural Divide report demonstrated that physical separation is feasible and achievable, and can be integrated with upcoming improvements in the CAWS to maintain and enhance the system’s beneficial uses. The study reflected input from a broad-based stakeholder Advisory Committee and state and federal agencies. The final report is online at http://projects.glc.org/caws/. Following the report’s release, Congress directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) by January 2014. With GLMRIS now completed, the Great Lakes region faces a critical decision on the best approach for preventing the transfer of Asian carp and other AIS through the CAWS.

There is also growing support to define and advance near-term control measures that provide initial, one-way separation while full separation is implemented. This reflects concern over the long timeframe for achieving full separation and the recognition that interim measures can be implemented, using existing infrastructure in the CAWS, to protect the Great Lakes against the movement of Asian carp. Technical analysis on the feasibility of interim actions, and how to integrate them with permanent separation, has been a focus of this project.

The debate over how to control Asian carp and other AIS is proceeding quickly and it is imperative that regional leaders be equipped with clear and credible solutions to challenges associated with separation. With continued leadership from the GLC and the Cities Initiative, this project advanced both near-term and permanent solutions and was timed to provide regional and Chicago-area leaders with critically needed information at a key decision point. It builds on the important progress made so far and positions regional leaders for pivotal upcoming decisions on how best to safeguard the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes.


Final Report Narrative
View - 2012.1282_Grant_Report_Final_GLFT_Great_Lakes_Commission_Sept_2014.pdf
CAWS Mid System Alternative WQ Summary
Briefing on the Water quality Elements for the Mid-System Alternative from the Evaluation of Physical Separation Alternatives in the CAWS Technical Report
View - GLC_CAWS_Mid_System_WQ_Summary_131031.pdf
Initial Overview of the GLMRIS Report
Initial Overview of the GLMRIS Report
View - Initial_Overview_of_the_GLMRIS_Report_Final.pdf
GLC-Cities Comments on GLMRIS
GLC-Cities Comments on GLMRIS March 27, 2014
View - GLC-Cities_comments_on_GLMRIS_Final_March_27_2014.pdf
CAWS Hydraulic Modeling Final Report
CAWS Hydraulic Modeling Final Report July 2014
View - Final_Report_CAWS_Hydraulic_Modeling_July_2014.pdf
White Paper on Non-Physical Deterrents_ECT
Non-Physical Deterrents to Prevent Passage of Invasive Species
View - 2014-01-07_Summary_White_Paper_Non-Physical_Deterrents_ECT.pdf
Interim Barrier Retrofits
Existing Infrastructure Retrofits for Risk Reduction of Aquatic Invasive Species Transfer between the Mississippi and Great Lakes Watershed Basins
View - Interim_Barrier_Retrofits_GLC_Oct_2013.pdf