The Coast Guard said Wednesday it will temporarily close a half-mile section of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal during most daylight hours during the week after Labor Day for construction of parasite barriers by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The canal will close from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. between Sept. 7 and Sept. 11 between mile markers 296.1 and 296.7. The closures will allow the Corps to install underwater pieces of its 2B barrier, the last of three on the canal. Its companion, 2A, became active in April, and 2B should be finished by year's end.
The barriers carry an electrical current that repels fish. Its main purpose is to deter invasive Asian carp from spreading into the Great Lakes. On June 23 a three-foot long bighead carp was caught in Lake Calumet, adjacent to Lake Michigan, but Corps spokeswoman Lynne Whelen said there have been no more carp caught upstream from the barriers.
Coincidentally, Sept. 7 is the date when Judge Robert M. Dow Jr., of the U.S. District Court in Chicago begins hearing testimony in a suit brought by five Great Lakes states against the Corps. The suit calls for the Corps to use "all available efforts" to block carp in waterways leading to Lake Michigan. The court will hear arguments on the states' motion for a preliminary injunction on Sept. 7, 8 and 10.
The carp case pits commercial interests that transport commodities on barges on the CSSC against environmental interests that fear destruction of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court twice denied a petition by the state of Michigan to close Lake Michigan access points until the Corps finds a final solution.
-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at firstname.lastname@example.org.