There is strong public support in the Chicago area for placing permanent barriers in the region’s waterways to prevent the spread of Asian carp, according to a poll by OpinionWorks, an independent, non-partisan opinion research organization.
The poll of 401 adult Chicago-area residents found that 57% favor addressing Asian carp by “placing one or more permanent barriers in the canals around Chicago to return the waters to a more natural state,” with 17% opposed. The poll has a margin of sampling error no greater than ±4.9%.
Support for a permanent barrier rises to 77%, with 10% opposed, if “other problems could be solved” along with the Asian carp problem, such as those outlined in a recent report from the Great Lakes Commission. That report said construction of one or more permanent barriers would necessitate addressing stormwater, wastewater, transportation, and green infrastructure issues.
According to the poll, neighborhood flooding and sewer overflows, which are two key problems addressed in the Great Lakes Commission Report, are a problem for a significant share of the public:
Region-wide, 17% of residents describe flooding in neighborhoods after a hard rain as a “very serious problem.”
Thirteen percent (13%) call sewer overflows and water pollution a “very serious problem.”
Nearly one-quarter (23%) of the region’s residents are personally affected by flooding in their own neighborhood at least occasionally.
The Army Corps of Engineers continues to address the problem of invasive species through the GLMRIS project which is projected to be finished in 2015. The Corps has publicly stated that they will evaluate the information gathered for the Great Lakes Commission report into their final work and has hinted that this will shorten their timeline although no new end date has been announced.
This poll shows that there is strong public support for separation and emphasizes the need for renewing our outdated water infrastructure and investing in a permanent solution to reduce water pollution, flooding and stop the transfer of aquatic invasive species.