The $16 million project to improve Coon Rapids Dam and make it harder for Asian carp to get past it advanced last week when the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Three Rivers Park District ratified their agreement, according to the district's website.
"The carp, as we understand their movements and jumping, won't be able to jump over it," Blackstad told MPR News. "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."
John VonDelinde, director of Anoka County Parks and Recreation, said Anoka County isn't part of the deal because its parkland on the east bank of the river doesn't include the dam itself.
VonDelinde said he understood that the DNR is close to selecting an engineer for the project and that engineering work would continue into 2013, with construction to follow the next year.
Meanwhile a state Asian carp task force has been grappling with what else to do about the invasive species' apparent progress in Minnesota. In December, scientists announced that earlier in the year showed —though not actual fish—on both sides of the Coon Rapids Dam. That suggests (but doesn't prove) that the feared carp may already be making be present in the waters off Fridley.
Paul Labovitz, a Fridley resident and director of the National Park Service's Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, said at a meeting of the task force in December that he had met with officials at the next dam downriver (Upper St. Anthony Falls, in Minneapolis) to brainstorm ideas for stopping the carp's migration there.