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Witness: Lock closure to thwart Asian carp would raise flood risk

Jim-Kirby

Jim Kirby, an outdoor writer from Palos Park, Ill., prepares to shoot Asian silver carp as they start jumping alongside his boat during a bowfishing trip near Utica, Ill in this May, 2006 photo.

CHRIS YOUNG / AP Enlarge

CHICAGO — A witness in a federal lawsuit seeking the closure of two Illinois shipping locks to thwart Asian carp says the move would raise risks of devastating floods.

Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin want a judge to order the locks shut to keep the invasive fish from leaving Chicago-area waterways and overrunning the Great Lakes.

But a federal hydraulic engineer testified Friday that Chicago relies on being able to open the locks to reduce river levels during storms.

Tzuoh-Ying Su (CHOH' YING' SOO') says barring authorities from flushing water into Lake Michigan could cause major flood damage and cost lives.

Officials opened locks for flood prevention in July. But Su conceded it's a rare step. He says opening both locks for flood prevention has occurred just nine times since 1954.

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