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“The threat is real,” said Jill Bathke, natural resource scientist for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. “The need to stop them now at Upper St. Anthony Falls is really urgent.”
Irene Jones, program coordinator for Friends of the Mississippi River, said: “It’s a fairly foolproof solution for the Upper Mississippi.”
But Jones warned that closing the passageway will not stop the spread of carp up the St. Croix or Minnesota rivers.
The St. Anthony Falls Lock closure has implications beyond Minnesota. Business and environmental groups have been tracking the legislation, and opponents like Genz worry about the precedent set by shutting down a working waterway.
Legal battles already have been fought over efforts to close Chicago-area shipping locks to keep carp out of the Great Lakes. In an effort to water down industry opposition, the pending federal legislation would trigger the Minneapolis lock closure on the basis of its limited use, not the threat of carp.
But that does little to allay Genz’s concerns.
“Could this be done somewhere as part of some federal legislator’s pet project?” he said. “You’re darn right.”
Staff writer Josephine Marcotty contributed to this report. Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau. Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell