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Carp-control plan targets Eagle Marsh

The Obama administration's plan to halt the spread of invasive Asian carp to the Great Lakes includes rebuilding an earthen berm in Eagle Marsh.

It is among a dozen projects and programs announced Wednesday that "will strengthen our defenses against Asian carp and move innovative carp control projects from research to field trials to implementation," John Goss, Asian carp director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a statement.

A council spokesman said the huge fish have been found 30.miles southwest of Eagle Marsh in the Wabash River, which links to the marsh through the Little River and the Graham-McCulloch Ditch. The marsh connects to the Junk Ditch and ultimately the Maumee River, which feeds Lake Erie.

Eagle Marsh stewards prefer a reconstructed berm over other carp-control options – a wall, fencing, screens and various combinations of barriers – that have been considered by the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers.

The berm along Graham-McCulloch Ditch on the southwest outskirts of Fort Wayne “is an existing structure in our nature preserve, and so wildlife and migrations are used to that structure being there,” said Betsy Yankowiak, director of preserves and programs for the Little River Wetlands Project.

Rebuilding the Graham-McCulloch Ditch berm is expected to cost $5.7.million to $7.2.million, Yankowiak said, depending on whether both sides of the ditch are altered. The project will require public input and permits from local, state and federal authorities.