July 12, 2004

IJC Cheers Groundbreaking for Asian Carp Barrier
Praises U.S. Army Corps for "Keeping its Promise"

[Chicago] - The International Joint Commission (IJC) today thanked and commended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for beginning construction of the permanent Asian carp barrier on the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal. The barrier replaces a temporary version that is failing and is designed to block the Asian carp from advancing into the Great Lakes and possibly devastating a $4.5 billion fishery. The Commission also praised the state of Illinois and all of the partners on the barrier project for their commitment to protecting the Great Lakes.

"The Army Corps promised to build the barrier and they are keeping that promise," said Dennis Schornack, chair of the United States section of the IJC. "What remains now is for other beneficiaries to step up to the plate and show their commitment to keeping the carp out of the Great Lakes."

"We commend all the elected leaders, especially U.S. Representative Judy Biggert, for their bipartisan efforts to fund construction of this barrier," said the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray, chair of the Canadian section of the IJC.

Recently, the Commission wrote to the Council of Great Lakes Governors urging Chairman Robert Taft (governor of Ohio) and his colleagues to match the $1.7 million the state of Illinois has already committed to the project. The additional resources are needed to make up a shortfall in funding needed from nonfederal partners.

The International Joint Commission was established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help the United States and Canada prevent and resolve disputes over the use of the waters they share. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the IJC also advises the governments of the two countries on measures needed to restore and maintain the integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.

Frank Bevacqua Washington, DC (202) 736-9024
Nick Heisler Ottawa, Canada (613) 992-8367

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