U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, announced Senate passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2013.
This bill includes a measure she worked to include that sets aside 20 percent of new funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for maintaining Great Lakes ports and harbors, and a measure she authorized to authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to take emergency measures in the event of an imminent threat of Asian carp and other aquatic nuisance species entering the Great Lakes.
“The health of the Great Lakes, and all of our waterways, ports and harbors are key to the health of our economy, and the health of our families,” Senator Gillibrand said. “The spread of Asian carp must be stopped before permanently disturbing the natural ecosystem. And we need to make key investments to strengthen our local ports and harbors so we are making the most of their potential to attract businesses and support new jobs, and grow our economy.”
Gillibrand’s Asian carp provision will permanently authorize the Army Corps to take emergency measures in the event of an imminent threat of aquatic nuisance species, which includes Asian carp, entering the Great Lakes. Specifically, it allows the Army Corps of Engineers to implement measures to improve the effectiveness of the Electric Dispersal Barriers at the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal to stop the flow of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.
It would also allow the Corps to take emergency measures should an emergency situation occur in which Asian carp are threatening to enter the Great Lakes through any of the aquatic pathways from the Mississippi River Basin.
In addition, Senator Gillibrand secured language in the bill that would set aside 20 percent of new funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the Great Lakes. This funding will be used to dredge and maintain low-use and small harbors along the Great Lakes that have not been fully maintained by the Corps of Engineers due to a lack of funding. This funding will benefit ports like Rochester and Oswego, that rely on commercial navigation.
Press Release, May 16, 2013