MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Upper St. Anthony Falls lock on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis would be closed to prevent invasive carp from spreading upstream into other popular Minnesota waters under a measure headed for final approval in Congress, members of the state’s congressional delegation announced Tuesday.
The provision has been included in a conference committee’s version of a water infrastructure bill that now goes back to the full House and Senate for final approval. It directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the lock within a year of the bill’s enactment.
The Upper St. Anthony Falls lock and dam has long been seen as one of the best sites for choking off the advance of Asian carp up the Mississippi watershed. The state Department of Natural Resources had feared the voracious eaters would eventually get past it and a dam upstream at Coon Rapids to reach other waters, including Mille Lacs Lake — one of the state’s most popular fisheries — and other lakes and streams.
“The spread of invasive carp poses a major threat not only to Minnesota’s environment, but also the recreation and fishing industries that help power our state’s economy and create jobs,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement joined by Sen. Al Franken, and Reps. Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, Tim Walz and Rick Nolan.
The lock handles limited commercial traffic, primarily for a pair of gravel and scrap metal yards in Minneapolis. But closing it requires a change in federal law, so much of the discussion on ways to stop the spread has involved expensive and less effective technology such as bubble, acoustic and electrical barriers.
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