CHICAGO (CBS) — Stopping the Asian carp – that invasive fish which could decimate the sportfish population in the Great Lakes – is the subject of a new U.S. government proposal being discussed in Chicago.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public hearing on Monday at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago to receive public input on the recently released Brandon Road Lock & Dam Study. The study provides critical new information on the options for implementing additional Asian carp control measures to slow the movement of the invasive fish, said the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

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Asian Carp

In concentrated numbers, the leaping Asian carp pose significant danger to boaters navigating the open rivers. But from a purely ecological standpoint, the non-native carp feed primarily on plankton and bacteria, collapsing the food chain. (Credit: CBS)

The barbarians are at the gate, somewhere near Joliet, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers wants to put in a new, better-engineered electric barrier there.

Representatives from several environmental organizations gave their options, many of them split on what should be done.

Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said the new barrier would not be perfect.

Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes (WBBM/Steve Miller)

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“We can add more. We can do better in the future. But we have to keep moving now. What we can’t do is walk in place, which is what the state of Illinois has been proposing to do now for the past year,” Brammeier said.

Robert Hirschfeld of the Prairie Rivers Network asks: Is it worth spending $275 million on another electric barrier, when it’s clear the barriers have flaws?

Robert Hirschfeld, Water Policy Specialist, Prairie Rivers Network (WBBM/Steve Miller)

“Including the fact that barges can pull fish through and small fish can swim through the barrier. Studies have shown that to be possible,” he said.

WBBM: What should they do?

“Well, I would say the report does a pretty good job of making lock closure appealing,” Hirschfeld said.

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The public comment period runs through Oct. 2. To learn more, visit