Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) raised questions about the more expensive options. He said, “Though popular with some, complete separation of the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan would be one of the most costly water projects in the nation.”

Durbin added, “I have seen too many of these long-term Corps projects languish for years and fall victim to Congressional inaction. We can’t gamble with the threat of Asian carp invading the Great Lakes or risk severe flood damage to the Chicago metropolitan area by pursuing a risky plan at the expense of our current efforts.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) favors quick action. She said, “We need work to begin on projects to permanently prevent Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes and we need it to begin now.”

She added, “While this report is a step in the right direction, it’s time to move past reports and get moving on actual projects that will stop Asian carp.”

The next step is a series of seven Corps public hearings on its report, beginning with a Jan. 9 meeting in Chicago.

The plans focus on three nuisance species that pose a risk to the Great Lakes basin: the bighead and silver carp and the scud. They also target nine species deemed to pose harm to the Mississippi River basin, including grass kelp, red algae and the bloody red shrimp.