U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sets Aside Nearly $230 Million to Prevent Carp From Invading Great Lakes

by Michael Freeman
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

You often hear of the U.S. Army funding environmental initiatives, but a recent one has the military branch going all out. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently set aside nearly $230 million to prevent carp from invading the Great Lakes.

The project costs $858 million in total and aims to stop Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. Initially running into a bit of trouble, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stepped in and greatly helped out by contributing $226 million. The money goes toward the Brandon Lock and Dam project on the Des Plaines River around Joliet, Illinois. Field and Stream states the endeavor aims to build technological barriers which include an electric barrier, air-bubble curtain, a flushing lock, and an underwater acoustic fish deterrent. The latter will block non-native species from entering Lake Michigan.

Conservation groups all praise the Corps’ decision to help, saying it’s essential to the project’s success. The money given is enough to fully complete preconstruction, engineering, and project designing. National Wildlife Federation policy director Marc Smith calls it “a historic step forward for this critically needed project to add a chain of smart technologies to the waterway that will stop invasive carp from reaching Lake Michigan.”

If the system they are designing is effective, Brandon Road can use it to halt the Asian carp. While seemingly harmless at a glance, the fish are actually quite destructive. They consume large amounts of local food and reproduce rapidly. As one might expect, this can be disastrous for ecosystems in which they aren’t native.

Nevertheless, the project is slated to take at least several years to complete. Those involved suspect it won’t be finished until 2030 and that’s at the earliest.

Army Raising Bonuses Amid Recruitment Struggles for New Recruits to $50K

The United States Army isn’t just contributing to halting Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes recently. The military branch also announced it is raising its enlistment bonus to a maximum of $50,000 amid recruitment struggles.

Head of Army Recruiting Command, Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen talked to the Associated Press about the bonuses a few weeks ago. “We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID, when the school systems basically shut down,” said Vereen. “We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”

Expanding on his statement, Vereen said for the last two years, recruitment has been hit especially hard. He then specified those interested in the bonus must sign a six-year enlistment in a high-demand career field. He also stresses the demands are high, meaning not many will reach the maximum $50,000 bonus. The final amount depends on when they are available to ship out for training, if they already possess critical skills, and if they choose ranger or airborne posts.

The previous maximum amount was $40,000, so if you were thinking of enlisting, now may be the time.