DNR makes agreement for carp barrier on Coon Rapids Dam

Asian Carp
In this Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006 file photo, a bighead carp, front, a species of the Asian carp, swims in a new exhibit that highlights plants and animals that eat or compete with Great Lakes native species, at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

The Department of Natural Resources and Three Rivers Park District have agreed to allow construction of a barrier against aquatic invasive species at the Coon Rapids Dam.

The 99-year-old dam bridges the Mississippi River between the cities of Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids. The state legislature approved $16 million dollars to protect against invasive species there in 2011.

Three Rivers Park District — the only independent park district in the state — owns and operates the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. The DNR will run the project but the park district will still have control of a small strip of the dam, said Board Chair Larry Blackstad.

"There is a walkway on top of the dam which we will continue to operate, which connects the trail systems in Hennepin County and Anoka County," Blackstad said. "People will continue to be able to cross the dam using our walkway."

In December, researchers found the first DNA evidence of Asian carp north of the Coon Rapids dam. The project will increase the distance between the water below the dam and the water above it.

"The carp, as we understand their movements and jumping, won't be able to jump over it," Blackstad said. "If they get over it, the problem is they get all the way up to Mille Lacs and the big game fishing lakes of the state, and have a very major impact on the economy of northern Minnesota."

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