WASHINGTON — Congress has approved a measure requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to quicken development of a strategy for keeping the Great Lakes free of Asian carp.
The provision was part of a highway funding bill that cleared the House and Senate on Friday. If signed by President Obama, the measure will set an 18-month deadline for the Army corps to finish its Asian carp plan.
Corps officials said in May they would submit a report by the end of 2013, roughly the same time as required under the legislation.
But officials said they would provide only a list of options for Congress and the public to consider.
The legislation instead requires specific steps for preventing species migrations at 18 potential entry points, including Chicago-area rivers and canals.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio) said the legislation was originally introduced in April by a bipartisan group of legislators that included fellow Ohioan Rob Portman, a Republican, as well as Michigan senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, both Democrats.
"The invasion of Asian carp could grind to a halt Ohio's multimillion-dollar fishing and boating industries," Mr. Brown said in a statement.
"The Great Lakes, including Lake Erie, remain dangerously vulnerable to an Asian carp invasion. The Stop Invasive Species Act is a bipartisan bill that would ensure a definitive plan to permanently prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes."