Bipartisan Great Lakes Governors Support Full Federal Funding for Brandon Road Invasive Carp Project

The governors of eight Great Lakes states sent last week a letter to Congress requesting full federal funding for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf all signed the letter expressing full support for the project and noting its similarity to other large-scale projects receiving full federal funding with a strong bearing on the regional and national economy.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS), including invasive carp, continue to spread throughout the United States, threatening America’s water habitats with long-lasting environmental damage that directly affects boaters, anglers, local communities, and the recreational boating industry.

Last year, Congress approved the Brandon Road project and authorized its $858 million estimate. However, the non-federal cost-share of 20 percent is “beyond the capacity of the Great Lakes states to match,” the governors write. The letter states that “the region’s $7 billion commercial and sport fishing industry and $15 billion recreational boating industry would be devastated if invasive carp were to become established in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.” Illinois is the non-federal sponsor as the project is located in Illinois at a chokepoint on the Des Plaines River below the Chicago Area Waterway System. Michigan and Illinois signed an agreement a year ago whereby Michigan provided $8 million of the approximately $10 million non-federal cost share of the planning, engineering and design (PED) phase of the project. The letter asks for full federal funding for the remainder of the design, construction, engineering and maintenance.

Reversing the spread of AIS is a key priority for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) as invasive species pose serious threats to the recreational boating industry. In the year ahead, NMMA will continue to work alongside offices and agencies at the federal and state levels to ensure the priorities of the recreational boating industry are accounted for, and meaningful solutions are advanced that curb the spread of AIS.

For additional information or questions, please contact Jill Sims, Policy and Engagement Manager, Great Lakes Region at [email protected] or Clay Crabtree, director of federal government relations, at [email protected]