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GLMRIS - Brandon Road

GLMRIS-Brandon Road MapThe Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study – Brandon Road Draft Integrated Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement – Will County, IL (Draft GLMRIS-BR Report) evaluates options and technologies near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam site in Will County, Illinois, near Joliet, to prevent the upstream transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) from the Mississippi River Basin into the Great Lakes Basin, while minimizing impacts to existing waterway uses and users.

The GLMRIS Report, released in January 2014, describes alternatives to prevent aquatic interbasin transfer of ANS between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. Based on an agency assessment informed by public input following release of the GLMRIS Report, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) concluded that a formal evaluation of potential control options and technologies near Brandon Road Lock and Dam to prevent the movement of ANS from the Mississippi River Basin to the Great Lakes Basin was an appropriate next step.

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Tenatively Selected Plan

Tentatively Selected Plan

Six alternatives were formulated and evaluated. Each alternative is described in detail in the draft report documents. The tentatively selected plan is the alternative that reduces the risk of Mississippi River Basin ANS establishment in the Great Lakes Basin to the maximum extent possible while minimizing impacts to waterway uses and users.

Based on the results of the evaluation and comparison of the alternatives, the tentatively selected plan is the Technology Alternative – Complex Noise with Electric Barrier, which includes the following measures: nonstructural measures, complex noise, water jets, engineered channel, electric barrier, flushing lock, boat launches and mooring area. The goal will be to optimize alternative effectiveness while minimizing safety impacts.

The map below shows locations of key features, or measures, of the tentatively selected plan at Brandon Road Lock and Dam. Descriptions of nonstructural and structural control measures included in the tentatively selected plan follow.

Measures Included in the Tentatively Selected Plan

Nonstructural Control Measures

Nonstructural controls do not require the construction of a permanent feature in the waterway, while structural measures do.

Education and Outreach: Educating the public on ways to avoid spreading all life stages of ANS from one waterbody to another.

Integrated Pest Management: Integrated Pest Management is a series of pest management evaluations, decisions, and controls. The overall strategy is to use an Integrated Pest Management approach by combining the tools, knowledge, monitoring data, and information available to detect, aggregate, remove, control, and exclude ANS.

Manual or Mechanical Removal: For adult life stages, controlled harvest and overfishing remove ANS fish species from the waterway to reduce abundance. Current methods are ineffective for A. lacustre (hitchhiker) and for harvesting the eggs, juvenile and larval life stages of Bighead Carp (H. nobilis) and Silver Carp (H. molitrix).

Nonstructural Monitoring: Nonstructural monitoring uses various tools to identify the location and abundance of ANS. Monitoring includes but is not limited to electrofishing, netting and telemetry.

Piscicides: Application of a registered piscicide to eradicate ANS fish species, but generally not effective against fish eggs. In the state of Illinois, piscicides can only be received, possessed, and applied by a State of Illinois, Division of Fisheries Biologist.

Research and development: Investigations into ways to improve the effectiveness and development of additional tools and methods to prevent ANS from entering the Great Lakes Basin.

Structural Control Measures

Structural controls require the construction of a permanent feature in the waterway. Structural measures include:

  Complex Noise: Complex noise is underwater sound generated to deter ANS fish species from entering the Brandon Road Lock approach channel. However, this measure would not control the passage of floating ANS or ANS that are known to be hitchhikers. 
  Electric Dispersal Barrier: An electric dispersal barrier creates an electric field that repels and stuns fish and would be placed at the downstream extent of the engineered channel.
  Engineered Channel: An engineered channel is a concrete structure installed within the downstream approach channel to Brandon Road Lock. The engineered channel serves to increase the effectiveness of some ANS controls, reduce control impacts and serves as a platform to add new technologies in the future, if deemed appropriate.
  Flushing Lock :The flushing lock would be designed to exchange water from the upper pool prior to a lockage; thereby removing floating Mississippi River Basin ANS from the lock. The flushing lock would not control the passage of swimming or hitchhiking species.
  Water Jets: Water jets, installed along the bottom of the engineered channel, are designed to remove small and stunned fish that may become entrained in recesses of barges.

Supporting Measures

These measures do not control ANS movement but support other measures in the tentatively selected plan.

  Boat Launches: Boat launches would be sited upstream and downstream of Brandon Road Lock and Dam to address limited boat access for safety and ANS-related activities.

Mooring Area: This supporting measure is included in alternatives with an electric dispersal barrier in case vessels need to reconfigure prior to locking through Brandon Road Lock.