The freshly christened “Invasive Carp” are back in Minnesota’s news. This time because the fish are behind a possible major interruption of Mississippi River’s navigable waters; to keep the fish from Northern Minnesota, the United States Congress is looking to close the shipping lock on the Upper St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis.
Although not very well traveled compared to locks downstream, the 49-foot lifting lock still cleared 1,136 “lockages” (as the US Army Corps of Engineers calls them) in 2013 and about 32,000 semi-truck loads worth of commodities.
Aggregate Industries (who are involved with the construction of the new Vikings Stadium) is one of the major users of the ship route sending materials upriver through the locks, from St. Paul to Northeast Minneapolis. It’s expected that if the downtown Minneapolis lock is closed permanently, the company would need to be compensated and the public would experience heavier cement truck traffic.
The remainder of the river’s downstream stewards, who have few hard barriers for stopping the advancing Invasive Carp (their eggs are just a few miles downstream of the Minnesota border), will have to rely on less orthodox methods of halting the fishy progress. These methods will include a light, sound and electrical barrier below the Ford Dam in St. Paul to the tune of $10 million along with University of Minnesota carp research Professor Pete Sorenson’s $60,000 carp deterrent speakers at Lock and Dam #8. (That’s in Houston County, remember it?)
The larger water infrastructure bill has wide bi-partisan support in DC. With the legislation now out of committee, it’s likely the US Senate will vote on it this week and the US House will vote on it next week. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who’s been part of the proposed lock closing’s success, Betsy Hodges and a number of river environment related organizations have declared support for the measure. The closure could go into effect as soon as Memorial Day.
Picture via: Flickr (modified by Erik Bergs)