The corps' regional office in Chicago said it would release a report in late 2013 with options for blocking potential pathways between the lakes and the Mississippi River basin for the voracious carp and other invasive species that can disrupt ecosystems and cause huge economic losses.
It will include extensive information about each alternative, such as engineering designs, cost estimates and assessments of how they would affect the environment, said Jack Drolet, program manager for the Corps study.
But before any project could be carried out, the assistant secretary of the Army would have to endorse it. The corps then would conduct additional analyses, and Congress would have to authorize and fund the project. The revised schedule has no timetable for those steps, or for beginning work on any structures that might be built to seal off the two giant watersheds.
"We're pursuing this very aggressively, using all the resources we can," Drolet said.