COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota DNR is blasting a move by the House Ways and Means Committee, which removed funding for upgrades to the Coon Rapids Dam on Wednesday.READ MORE: 84-Year-Old Wisconsin Woman Found Safe After Authorities Ask For Public's Help
It’s a move wildlife officials said will allow for the spread of invasive Asian Carp.
Deputy DNR Commissioner Dave Schad said the dam is the state’s best line of defense against the invasive Asian Carp.
“It’s really our last and best hope to prevent the (carp) from moving up into the Upper Mississippi basin,” he said.READ MORE: In Sartell, Beloved 'Grandpa Kevin' Is Sharing Life Lessons To Elementary School Students
The DNR was backing $16 million in upgrades for the dam, which would be used to repair the dam’s gates, improve its foundation and raise its height.
“It’s not an effective barrier now,” Schad said. “In high water times, the fish could easily breech the dam.”
Schad said time is of the essence, as the carp have already shown up in the Mississippi River at points south.
“It’s going to take a couple of years to get these improvements in place, and the threat is not going away.MORE NEWS: Despite Warm Temps, Cold Water Poses Hypothermia Risk At Minnesota Lakes Over Memorial Day Weekend
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Adam Carter Reports