Illinois, feds must take steps to keep invasive carp out of Great Lakes

The Brandon Road Lock and Dam project near Chicago is needed to prevent carp from wreaking ecological and economic havoc on the country’s largest source of fresh water.

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A load of invasive silver carp sit in a boat after being netted from the Illinois River in September 2021.

A load of invasive silver carp sit in a boat after being netted from the Illinois River in September 2021.

Sun-Times file photo

As invasive carp get dangerously close to the Great Lakes, we must go beyond rebranding and fishing. While these efforts are appreciated, prevention is needed to keep this invasive fish out of the Great Lakes. It’s essential that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois move forward with building the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project near Chicago to prevent carp from wreaking ecological and economic havoc on the country’s largest source of fresh water.

Brandon Road is located at the choke point for invasive carp traveling from the Mississippi River Basin into the Great Lakes, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed using innovative technologies there to keep carp out of the lakes, including an acoustic fish deterrent, an air bubble curtain and an electric barrier.

Congress and the Biden administration made important progress earlier this year when they agreed to fund the federal share of the first year of construction of the project. Now it’s Illinois’ turn.

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To keep the project moving forward, Illinois first must sign an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by the end of the year. And funding the construction will require ongoing collaboration between Illinois and the other Great Lakes states.

The health of the Great Lakes and our regional economy are at stake — and current and future generations of taxpayers don’t deserve to live with the aftereffects of an invasion we know is coming.

Molly Flanagan, chief operating officer & vice president for programs, Alliance for the Great Lakes

Sue Chicago street gangs

Gangs do not follow the law, but the government must. This is why the government must use every legal means available to defeat criminals, especially street gangs.Mayor Lori Lightfoot is on the right track with her idea of suing street gangs — with a twist.

Police officers know what gang leaders do with their profits from illegal drug sales. One is to purchase real estate, especially apartment buildings.They hide their ownership in shell companies or relatives’ names.The Asset Forfeiture Unit of the Chicago Police Department has handed off cases of income tax evasion by gang leaders to the Internal Revenue Service.However, the IRS refuses to accept these cases for prosecution because, “They don’t meet our criteria.”

Well, these cases involve individuals who murder children and others. The IRS needs to fully prosecute these cases.When successful, the federal government seizes the offender’s assets and the informant, in this case the CPD, receives a 10% reward for information provided.Those funds would offset the expense of criminal investigations.

The best example of this procedure comes from Chicago history. A murderous gang leader was incarcerated in federal prison for many years, not for murder, but for income tax evasion. His name was Al Capone.

Chicago City Council and the federal government need to fully back Lightfoot’s proposal.

Michael C. Flynn, retired CPD lieutenant, Norwood Park

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