Specifically, the bill calls for the Army Corps to:
- Conduct a study on the feasibility of temporary closure of the lock at the Mississippi River's Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam at Minneapolis to manage the threat of Asian carp traveling up the Mississippi River
- Conduct a study on the feasibility of implementing control measures at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam to manage the threat of Asian carp traveling up the Mississippi River; and
- Close the lock at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam if the Army Corps determines that closure of the lock is justified to manage the threat of Asian carp migration.
Large numbers of several species of non-native, Asian carp have been progressively making their way upstream in the Mississippi River Basin for decades, since their release in the 1970s into the Lower Mississippi River from fish farming operations. Since then, bighead, silver and grass carp have been captured in the Mississippi River watershed from Louisiana to South Dakota, Minnesota and Ohio. In the Upper Mississippi River Basin, those carp species were first collected by scientists in the Mississippi River at Alton, Illinois, in 1993; in April 2011, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported that a commercial angler caught a 27-pound bighead carp in the lower St. Croix River that forms the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin; and on March 1 of this year two Asian carp were caught in the Mississippi River near Winona, Minnesota. For more detailed background on the issue of invasive carp in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, please see this 2011 article written in the Institute's Mississippi River Basin Blog.
Under its Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), the Army Corps is already exploring options and technologies to control aquatic nuisance species (ANS) that might be applied "to prevent or reduce the risk of ANS transfer between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins through aquatic pathways" (ANS are nonindigenous species that threaten the diversity or abundance of native species or the ecological stability of infested waters, or commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or recreational activities dependent on such waters). Please see our initial article on GLMRIS here.