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Great Lakes Article:

Critics say carp barrier proposal is all wet
Associated Press

ST. PAUL - An underwater electric barrier across the Mississippi River to stop the northward spread of Asian carp would cost $15 million to $25 million, according to a preliminary report, and some experts doubt it would even work.

The report was presented Wednesday to natural resource officials from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and several federal agencies.

Jeff Smith, president of Smith-Root Inc., a fisheries technology company in Vancouver, Wash., which prepared the study, cautioned that the construction price is an early estimate.

No decision has been made on whether to build the barrier, said Mark Holsten, deputy natural resources commissioner for Minnesota.

Two dozen officials at a four-hour meeting in St. Paul formed a steering committee to look at ways to block the carp and to pay for a comprehensive study.

The underwater barrier would be similar to one that Smith-Root built last year in a canal near Chicago that connects Lake Michigan with the Illinois River. The barrier's underwater electric cables send out shocks that repel fish.

Some raised concerns about the feasibility of any electric barrier in a river as large as the Mississippi. Sediment and debris could cover the electric cables or damage them, they said, and high water might interrupt the curtain of electricity. Other officials said that a barrier would prevent native migratory fish from moving upstream to spawn.

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