A power outage is about the last thing the Army Corps of Engineers needs, with residents in the Great Lakes region antsy about the march of the voracious Asian carp toward the lakes. The Corps maintains that the electric barriers erected in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal remain an effective defense against the migrating invasive species. For effect, the agency notes that so far, no live Asian carp has been found beyond the barriers, even though carp DNA has been found in water sample nearer to the lakes.

Early this month, a power outage knocked out the fish barrier for 13 minutes, and the backup system failed, briefly leaving the waterway unprotected. It was a brief interruption, to be sure, but that is all that is needed to prove the critics’ point that electricity supplies do fail and that the best defense is to sever permanently the Chicago waterways from the Great Lakes, thereby blocking access through the carp-infested Mississippi. Earlier this year, the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative released a comprehensive assessment that concluded a separation is doable (expensive and time consuming, without question) but immensely beneficial in protecting a natural regional asset responsible for an estimated $7 billion a year in economic activity.

The mishap offers more reason for the Corps to present sooner than in 2015 or 2016 the report on its study of technologies and strategies to stop the Asian carp and several other non-native species from getting a foothold in the Great Lakes.