On the Road Again: LTG Semonite at Brandon Road Lock and Dam

[Music] LTG Semonite: Hello I’m Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, 54th chief of engineers, and we’re on the road again
today we’re in Chicago with two great districts and we’re at the Brandon Road
Lock and Dam, this is a significant project because we’ve got to be able to
make sure we keep navigation going up and down the Illinois River but at the
same time we’re trying to prevent this emerging threat of Asian carp getting up
to the Great Lakes and with me are these two district commanders I’ve got Aaron Reisinger who’s the Chicago District commander he’s in the Lakes and Ohio River
Division and he runs the electric barriers we’ll talk about those in a
minute but also Steve Sattinger’s with us and he’s the guy that runs the lock and
dam here and part of the Mississippi Valley Division from the Rock Island
District, so Steve a very very complicated slide here, can you tell the
Corps team a little bit about what are we trying to achieve here?
COL Sattinger: Yes sir, so Brandon Road lock and dam is really the last line of defense against
Asian carp, at this point we can prevent upstream migration into the Great Lakes
and preventing it going into the Des Plaines River, a lot of different things
going on here, sir, we have non structural alternatives boat launches in case the
fish does get through we can launch nets and get biologists out there to see what
happened, the flushing lock complex we’re gonna re-engineer our lock in yellow here
and that’s going to take the floaters and the fish larvae that may be in the
water in the lock and flow from downstream LTG Semonite: So the eggs and stuff it will push it all downstream? COL Sattinger: Absolutely, yes sir, that’s one
of the technologies, we’re gonna build an engineered channel concrete up to 2,000
feet long all the way to the end of this canal here at the end of our island and
that’s going to allow us two things it’s really inhospitable to the fish
because it’s an engineered channel and it allows us to put future technologies
in that ERDC and other engineering partners are working on right now, we’re
gonna have air bubbling determine deterrence which will flush fish out
between the barge entrainment where they sometimes travel, we’re gonna put in an
electric fence at the very end, sir, really keep fish out
LTG Semonite: And Steve where are we in this process? COL Sattinger: We’re working on the
Chief’s report we think it’ll be in the Chiefs hands around Christmas time, he
can sign at the beginning of February and bring it to Congress for testimony
LTG Semonite: And what happens next is that we have to go through
engineering and design and then once that’s approved through Congress and we
go in, assuming funding’s come, and we would do construction so still a long
way to go, one of the most important features you talked about is this
electric barrier, Aaron, you’ve got I think three of these working now, tell
the Corps team a little about what is this barrier how does it work in and how
effective do you think it is COL Reisinger: Chief, welcome to Chicago
the Chicago District has been running an electric dispersal barrier since 2002, we
built the first demonstration barrier in 2002 and we followed up in 2009 and 2011
with two additional barriers, currently we’re under construction with what we
call permanent barrier one which is going to be the mack daddy of all
three barriers in the end it’s going to defend against the smallest fish
possible in the water, ultimately what we’re doing is we’re building an
electric fence we’re putting power in the water creating a voltage potential so
when the fish comes into that electric field it starts to feel that sensitivity
and that shock and at some point it decides to turn around, if it keeps
going it’s going to knock that fish out it flips upside down and then it floats
back downstream, we’re talking Chicago’s Chicago’s about 40 miles that way, the
electric dispersal barrier is about 10 miles upstream from this point right
here, it is currently the only structural defense in the Illinois waterway in the
Chicago area waterway system preventing Asian carp movement upstream into Lake Michigan
LTG Semonite: So Aaron we also just had the lieutenant governor from
Illinois here, she just left on behalf of Steve and your districts talk a
little bit about the collaboration that we’ve got to do and how you’re trying to
get so many different agendas maybe to be able to find the good enough solution here
COL Reisinger: Yes, sir, well I think it’s really a special relationship we have here really
across MSC and district boundaries first off, my relationship, Chicago’s
relationship with Rock Island is strong and really what’s beneficial about that
is Rock Island really understands the navigation industry, Chicago, we’ve been
working the aquatic invasive species fight for many many years and so we
really understand it from an environmental and aquatic invasive
species, we bring those two capacities together we have a combined PDT that’s
putting together this plan I have planners, engineers,
biologists, they’re working hand in hand with Steve’s team and Rock Island’s team
to put the best possible plan together when you expand that, we have very
similar stakeholders, we all work in Illinois and so we’re constantly
overlapping and working this and I think this is really a tremendous success story
LTG Semonite: I think the other thing to sum it up we always say in the Corps we’ve got to
deliver the program and this is a complicated project, I was here about a
year ago and I asked the whole team what can we do to speed it up and
so we’ve already moved the delivery of Chief’s report up about six months and
now what we’ve got to do is continue to stay committed to see this through and
the Corps of Engineers is committed to be able to balance this navigation
requirement along with making sure we’re protecting the environment so both you
guys thanks for a job very well done Steve’s relatively new to command thanks
for signing up to be a commander and Aaron you’re doing a phenomenal job
up here in Chicago so from Brandon Road bottom line is really
focused on trying to take care of the Asian carp by maintaining navigation

1 thought on “On the Road Again: LTG Semonite at Brandon Road Lock and Dam

  1. Don't Shout into the mike General. Brut then again this will be DOI's problem when the Corps proud mission is transferred to grant agencies like DOT and to DOI to farm out to interest in the pocket of congress. So scream into the mike all you want.

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