A bipartisan water transportation bill that would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam -- a move that officials say is critical to stop the spread of invasive carp -- has sailed through the Senate and awaits President Obama’s signature.
The $12 billion measure included a provision championed by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar that would require the lock to be locked down within a year.
A voracious species, the invasive carp crowd out native game fish. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials have pressed for the lock closure for years, arguing that the carp will harm the state’s recreation and tourism industries if they reach the state’s northern waters.
“Closing the [lock] is a key part of the strategy to protect Minnesota’s waters for future generations,” Klobuchar said in a Senate floor speech.
The Senate passed the conference committee report 91 to 7, with support from Klobuchar and U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
The bill passed the House on a near unanimous vote earlier this week. It marks the first time in seven years that Congress has authorized spending on dams, harbors and other maritime projects.
The bill would also fund dozens of water projects around the country, including $800 million for flood protection efforts in northern Minnesota city of Roseau the Red River Valley region of North Dakota and Minnesota.
The flooding diversion funding for Fargo and Moorhead "is critical to safety and economic development in the region," Klobuchar said in her floor speech. "Finding a permanent solution to the issue makes much more economic sense than continuing to fight the flooding and repair damages year after year."