For the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities, EDR Group worked with Economic Development Services, Inc. to assess the economic implications of a proposed closing of the Upper St. Anthony Lock on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, MN. The closure was proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers as one way to prevent the upriver movement of Asian carp in the Mississippi River system. The economic study examined:
- the regional economic impact of current barge operations,
- how individual business operations would be affected by closure, and
- associated costs for local businesses that would have to truck commodities to barge loading terminals further south.
The study showed that the proposed action would affect movements of sand, gravel, iron ore, steel, coal and fertilizers along the upper river. The study team identified impacts for existing businesses (including coal and fertilizer storage), for additional truck traffic, and for the siting of business facilities that would be affected by the closure. The economic analysis also covered indirect and induced implications for the regional economy, and utilized the TREDIS economic impact model. The report showed the range of expected region-wide job loss and income loss that would be expected from the proposed action. However, it was understood that the primary objective of the proposed action was environmental – to save the river ecosystem, so the intent of the report was to inform decision-makers about economic implications and tradeoffs, and to allow planners to better consider available options.