The report goes on to say that beyond the huge amount of money - and you know that figure will only increase - it will take decades to implement. There has already been reports of Asian Carp DNA being discovered in the Great Lakes (Article). And those guys expect to that they won't spread from there in the decades they need to stop the fish from getting in? Like I said, good luck.
The Army Corp already built an electrified fence just outside of Chicago on a river that connects Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River (the source of these pesky critters), back in 2002. The theory behind that is a small electrical current is introduced in the water, stopping the fish from swimming through. The tradeoff is that private boats traversing this spot - including those doing the 'Great Loop' trip - are forced to stop ahead of it, get out and be towed across the electrified portion, at a cost of $600 per tow.
There is already litigation between the border States to have Michigan dam off the waterway in an attempt to stop the carp. So the fun has already begun. I'm sure the Corp's cost estimation didn't take into account the lawyers' fees both now and in the future.
I guess nobody ever thought of installing a marine railway, like we have on the Trent Severn Waterway. The original 'Big Chute Marine Railway' was built in the early 1900's to get boats over a steep vertical change in elevation on the Severn River and was to be replaced with a conventional lock in the 1960's. Right around that same time, there was a scare with another invasive species, that of the Sea Lamprey eel. Those little buggers stuck to the bottom of boats and it was determined that they didn't survive long if the boat they were hitching a ride on was hauled out of the water.
So, rather than getting rid of the marine railway, it was decided to build a new, larger one that could accommodate a number of boats at one time. This 'new' carriage has been in service since 1977 and has kept the Lamprey at bay. I'm sure that a similar, more grander version could be installed at Chicago - at both a significantly lower cost and quicker timeline.
|Big Chute Marine Railway at Ontario's Trent Severn Waterway|
More details can be found in this Great Lakes Scuttlebutt Magazine article. In the meantime, protective headgear should be available at your local West Marine store soon.