WJ Editorial
Asian carp

Living With And Containing Invasive Carp

This issue of The Waterways Journal includes two important stories about invasive carp.

One story details how businesses in Wickliffe, Ky., are betting on the continued presence of carp as an exploitable resource. An entrepreneur, Angie Yu of Two Rivers Fisheries, is expanding her company’s investment in a carp-harvesting plant in Wickliffe, Ky. Two Rivers processes and exports carp for human consumption. A 10-year ban on carp fishing in the Yangtze River has helped keep overseas demand high. A new company breaking ground next door, Nutrifish, will use what’s left over to process fish meal and fish oil for animal food additives.

The carp habitat has continued to expand over the years. A map posted by Tennessee shows silver carp (one of four carp species imported from Asia in the 1970s that are considered troublesome) making their way up most of the rivers in the state’s western half. In 2020 an angler reported a silver carp at Chickamauga Dam on the Tennessee River, in the state’s eastern half, but none have been reported since.

The other story details how a temporary funding crunch is threatening progress on the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Aquatic Nuisance Species Barrier Project. The Brandon Road project is the key chokepoint keeping invasive carp out of the Great Lakes.

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On January 19, 2022, Congress appropriated $226 million through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to the Corps of Engineers for the completion of pre-construction engineering and design and the initiation of construction for the Brandon Road Project, but inflation is eroding that amount.

Local stakeholders and their representatives in Congress pushed for the most comprehensive—and expensive—array of measures at Brandon Road. The Corps has since had to modify and cut back some of them as costs have ballooned and means have been constrained. Even though Congress has reduced the degree of matching funds local partners have to come up with, states and localities—Illinois in particular—are claiming they can’t manage their contributions.

The containing of invasive carp is a multi-faceted project ranging over many rivers and waterways. It requires cooperation among local, state and federal entities, and private businesses in some locations.  We hope cooperation and communication can keep the progress going and avoid funding glitches and pauses.