TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — An electric barrier near
Chicago designed to prevent Asian carp and other species from migrating
between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River system had a 13-minute
power outage this week, officials said Friday.
Debbie Stabenow and Rep. David Camp, both of Michigan, told The Associated
Press about the outage prior to an official announcement. A spokeswoman
for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the barrier network,
confirmed the report.
happened about 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Stabenow and Camp said. Two of three
barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal were operating at the time
and both failed. Backup generators were activated, but a power surge
prevented them from immediately working.
emit rapid pulses to scare away fish and jolt those that don't turn back.
They are located 37 miles by water from Lake Michigan.
The corps and
experts with the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee are
investigating the cause of the failures and determining whether any fish
were nearby at the time, the lawmakers said.
officials consider the barriers a crucial part of their strategy for
preventing bighead and silver carp from invading the Great Lakes. The fish
escaped from southern sewage lagoons and fish farms decades ago and have
infested the Mississippi and its tributary rivers.
barriers are the only thing standing between the Asian carp and our Great
Lakes," Stabenow and Camp said in a statement. "If carp had been able to
get through while the barriers were down, it could have been absolutely
devastating to our economy and our way of life."