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Great Lakes Article:

2nd barrier to fight 'monster fish'
Gary Wisby
Chicago Sun Times

A $7 million, sturdier second barrier will be erected in the effort to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan, state officials said Thursday.

The electrified barrier will supplement one that began operation last spring at Romeoville in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The older device's electrodes are expected to last two or three years.

"These destructive creatures are moving ever closer, and we must do what we can to stop them in their tracks before it is too late," said Brent Manning, director of the Illinois Natural Resources Department.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will start construction next spring, with completion expected in six to eight months. The state's share of the project is $2 million.

The exotic carp species grows fast, reaching 12 pounds in its first year and weighing up to 110 pounds as an adult. Females lay as many as a million eggs apiece.

Plankton-eating carp compete with almost all other young fish for food and may become dominant. They have become the most common species of fish in some sections of the Mississippi River.

"The Great Lakes are a prime target for these monster fish," said Mike Conlin, fisheries chief for the Natural Resources Department. "They will not be deterred by colder waters, and in fact may prefer these waters used by trout and salmon."

Asian carp were spotted this summer in the upper Illinois River, less than 25 miles from the electric barrier and within 55 miles of Lake Michigan.

Plans for a $300,000 backup generator were announced last month.

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